Review: Iena – La morte chiama (“Death calls”)

On and on, without ever stopping, oi!

When a band works hard and rocks, you can feel it in the air. You see positive comments, flyers featuring their name, their CDs start spreading, and  interest rises around their work. This is definitely what’s happening with Iena, fresh out of the release of their new album, La morte chiama, for S.O.A. and Timebomb records.
Florence-based threesome, featuring members from Carlos Dunga and Bomber 80 kicks us with modern, direct and no-compromises oi! Punk. A genre that, in Italy, was rediscovered and metabolized over and over again in different flavors: from Nabat to Erode at the beginning, to Klasse Kriminale and Los Fastidios at the end of the 90s, to Bull Brigade in recent years, just to cite some of the most notable names.
The feeling that something new is coming is real: after Plakkaggio’s success this is undoubtedly a release to support with raised fists. The sound is influenced by the scene from beyond the Alps where many similar bands are emerging. Stadiums, Fred and Perrys, politics and shaved heads give way for a moment to more gloomy and nihilistic themes; the decay of the values of this new society “Con il sangue agli occhi” [with blood in the eyes] is tangible in Iena’s lyrics. We don’t find fun and beers anymore, but rather a dark abyss that drags us down until “La morte chiama” [death calls], a bottom made of addictions, convictions and defeats. The language is simple and immediate and makes us digest the contents even with some irony, leaving a sensation of positive anger, pure energy.
The first track is off like a shot: the choice of having a mic for everyone pays off, because as soon as vocals enter it is already chorus, every word hits like a punch in the gut, and the solid instrumentals complete the KO. I always admire who manages to put together quality lyrics in Italian without lapsing in rhetoric. No sudden changes in tempo, no solos: song after song we proceed united and head-on, moshing against the stereo. Guitars have a cutting sound but with well balanced basses, making a great recording.
Choruses leave a strong impression since the first hearing and I dare you not to sing your lungs out along with them, from “Iena” to “Il bacio della morte”, with loaded riffs, to “Contro la città” that is, in my opinion, the strongest track of the batch.
Along with street punk-inspired progressions there’s some recall to a heavier sound to weigh down the whole thing after the sinister bells of “Cheval de retour”, just to burst in a powerful as ever finale.
The vinyl – well curated and out in two different editions – is a recommended purchase: don’t miss it! Iena is certainly a band that will emerge at higher and higher levels in the future.


review by Mauro “Glue”

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