Conceived of during lock down portions of the Covid-19 pandemic, Turris Eburnea is a two piece Experimental Metal amalgamation made up of Italian multi-instrumentalist Gabriele Gramaglia (most notably of Cosmic Putrefaction), and American bassist Nicholas McMaster (most notably of Krallice). “Twisting and mind warping” Death Metal, to be precise, as stated on their Bandcamp profile, and I am inclined to agree with this description. However, Turris Eburnea is not a band that can easily be pinned down by such simplicities. While that description gets you in the door – possibly for an appetizer and some small talk – it is the nature of the twisting and warping that keeps you there for dinner, desert, and drinks.
Neither Krallice or Cosmic Putrefaction are ‘easily’ definable, so it stands to reason that a collaboration between the two would be a little outside the box as well. And though some comparison is unavoidable, McMaster and Gramaglia as a unit are more straightforwardly Death Metal than Krallice, more Avant-garde than Cosmic Putrefaction, and still manage to be enough of both to please fans of either. To put it another way, if you took both bands and mixed them all up with the likes of Gorguts, Blood Incantation, and Deathspell Omega, you would be on the right track. “Twisting and mind warping,” indeed!
The first two minutes of opening track “Unified Fields” sets an intention to confound even the most uppity purist, giving way to all out Metal psychosis by adding clean electric guitar arpeggios, spaced out background keyboards, and enough variation in time signature to freak out Dillinger Escape Plan.
“Cotard Delusion” is a bit more riff-driven, this time adding sporadic piano tinkering and an oddly fitting violin melody to the mix. “Syncretism Incarnate,” the only entirely instrumental track, adds some lo-fi sounding guitar leads, even chunkier riffs, and a variation of the arpeggios heard earlier, leaving “Malachite Mountains” the dubious honor of closing out the far-too-short set. McMaster’s bass playing, fluent in both elegance and bombast, follows along effortlessly the entire time.
It isn’t possible to understand what Gramaglia is singing the majority of the time, which isn’t exactly a problem. There’s so much going on already, clearly articulated vocals may actually get in the way. Not to mention that imperceptibility may be the entire point. After all, just taking the music into account, “Turris Eburnea” is a twenty-minute application of auricular demolition. One thing is not meant to stand out among its chromatic counterparts. If you hope to understand this music on a deeper level, you’re going to have to dig through all of the grimy bits until you hit box or bone. But the good news is, everybody loves a treasure hunt!
Turris Eburnea’s addition to the Everlasting Spew Records roster is absolutely perfect. A label that’s come to personify edgy yet entirely authentic Death Metal, Everlasting Spew encourages experimentation, but not at the expense of the esoteric melting of faces Death Metal of any sort must possess. Bands like Fractal Generator, Construct of Lethe, and Black Hole Deity are excellent examples of this, but Turris Eburnea take this autonomy to new levels.