PICK OF THE WEEK: Shadowy Messa incorporate jazzy tones, psyche storming onto ‘Feast for Water’

It would be the most obvious sentence in this site’s history if I stated that water is one of the most crucial elements to human survival. It also is a major force we cannot always control. People suffer when their supplies are compromised or threatened; floods can destroy homes and towns; its regular use can keep us healthy and alive.

So, it’s not a huge surprise that Italian doom force Messa chose to focus on the vital element as the main topic of their new conceptual piece “Feast for Water.” From the opening moments of the record, you can hear waters rushing and welling, though as the record goes on, its presence is mainly in the words and lyrics. It fuels this impressive second record for this band that debuted a couple years ago on “Belfry” that certainly hinted at the promise they held. Yet here, they completely go for it mixing jazz, blues, and psychedelics into their heaviness on a record that’s often pulled back so that atmosphere can be achieved. It’s a wise move as it makes the heavier parts that much more impactful, and it allows the band to drape the songs in beauty and ambiance. The group—powerhouse vocalist Sara, guitarist/bassist Marco, guitarist/Rhodes piano player Alberto, and drummer Rocco—captures the imagination right away and continues to pound away at your psyche over these eight songs and nearly 50 excellent minutes that should open way more eyes and ears to their magic.

“Naunet” is a quick intro cut with waters rushing and cosmic noise spreading before moving into “Snakeskin Drape” where the liquid continues to bubble. Out of that comes Sara’s voice slowly emerging, burly doom popping, and as bluesy burnt edge to the guitar work. Then, the vocals soar into space, while the drama builds, bringing the song to a smashing end. “Leah” runs 8:09 and spills in on a droning riff and a spooky pace. The track is dark and alluring, with keys plotting their move and the singing coming softly. The power later kicks in, mixing psychedelic energy into the fray, and the blazing soloing that emerges helps light the way. Sara’s singing levels you, while the back end of the song sounds stoned and grimy. “The Seer” is the longest single track, going a healthy 8:19, all of which it dominates. Drums roll in as the slowly simmering plot begins to unfold. Strong riffs partner with jazzy melodies, while Sara’s singing swells and moves. The song’s flow goes back and forth from easy to rocky, cold to hot, as the playing mesmerizes, guitars blister and swagger toward the end, and Sara adds her final notes.

“She Knows” and “Tulsi” play like a single song, and if they were made into one, they’d make up the longest track at nearly 15 minutes. “She Knows” is super chilled out, with keys slinking, Sara’s voice prowling underneath the shadows, and a sense of elegance dashed across the track. Later, the tempo starts pushing and pulling back and forth, and the tranquility begins to show cracks. The soloing erupts, and before you know it, the band unexpectedly hits the gas pedal, sprawling into “Tulsi” where guitars moan, and moody playing sets the tone. The first hints of savagery make their mark, with Rocco’s screams crashing down, and then things get smoky and disorienting. Emotion hits another high point, while a jagged saxophone burst swelters, with the song bleeding away. “White Stains” starts with a sense of ease before things power up, and Sara blisters all sense of calm. The guitars buzz with feeling, while the soloing flashes and blinds your eyes, and it feels live lava is coming from the splits in the ground. Sara’s vocals again take hold of you, while the track simmers in power as it reaches its finish. Closer “Da Tariki Tariquat” is a closing instrumental that acts as an ideal bookend to “Naunet.” Guitars drip and create a tributary, the ambiance sends tingles, and the whole thing is allowed to fade into profound numbness, leaving you lying stunned and silent.

Messa’s liquid rituals on “Feast for Water” are intoxicating, mesmerizing, and bruising, paying homage to an element that makes up a large percentage of our world and bodies. This record rushes the senses and continues to do so as one song flows into the other, building another chapter to the story. This is the true coming of a new, enthralling doom force, one that seeks to capture you by their psychedelic wares rather than earth-smashing volume.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/MESSAproject

To buy the album, go here: http://www.auralwebstore.com/shop/index.php

For more on the label, go here: http://www.auralmusic.com/