Epic black/crust insurgents Marthe stream their striking debut EP, Sisters of Darkness, at Decibel magazine’s website. Set for international release today via Caligari Records on cassette tape format, hear Marthe‘s Sisters of Darkness in its entirety exclusively HERE.
Marthe is a one-woman band from Italy who recorded a DIY demo in 2019 that is now being reissued by Caligari. The lady behind it is Marzia, current drummer in D-beat crews Kontatto and Tuono and guitar player in deathrockers Horror Vacui. Despite her love for different music genres, she loves metal. For different reasons, mostly having many bands for the last decades, Marzia never had the opportunity to drum in a metal band as she wanted to, so in 2019, she had the idea for a solo project to make this wish real. She collected all the riff ideas she’d recorded on her phone during the last years, and she plugged in an electronic drumkit she bought ages ago without ever using it before. With very basic home-recording knowledge and limited equipment, she recorded Sisters of Darkness in her bedroom, renamed “Studio Hammer,” to give it a cool vibe. She played all the instruments, including a synth borrowed from a friend.
The four songs comprising Marthe‘s Sisters of Darkness straddle the sonic divide between Bathory and the UK’s Sacrilege, but the result came out without a real influence. The epic vibe was intentional, though: what Marzia loves most about Bathory (and she tried to pay tribute to) are the singalong clean vocals, with those particular “out of tune” shades that gave Quorthon’s singing such a unique pathos.
Of course, it was mandatory to have clean parts on Sisters of Darkness. Drumming on an electronic kit is just disgusting and the sound is horrible if you have no clue how to adjust it, but Marzia wanted everything to sound like a demo recorded in some basement in 1990. Guitars and bass were lovely to do, adding more melodies on top of the others and creating different textures in the songs during the process of creation. However, vocals were a real nightmare: she never sang before, and screaming in a six-storey building is very difficult if you’re shy. After a few attempts, she adjusted the tone and achieved what she considers the best result in the final part of the 11-minute epic “Awake Arise Silence.” The vocals are layered anywhere from five-to-eight times on top of each other, to get the effect of a “female entity” singing rather than a single woman. The other reason is that it was very weird for her to listen to her voice, so with this recording trick, she sounded less recognizable to her own ears.
The lyrics on Sisters of Darkness vary from autodetermination, acceptance of life cycle, empathy, and nature. Marzia really wanted to add some glorious gems here and there such as “warriors in the sky,” “your legacy of steel,” and stuff like that, as a tribute to her early swords/chains/leather metal listening habits.
Crucially, Marzia defines herself as “Antifascist, Feminist, Misanthropic.” She is strictly bonded to the DIY underground punk scene. She hates right-wing shit, especially in music: to her, music cannot exist for music’s sake and without a political position; it can be implicit or explicit, but it’s essential. She states that writing Sisters of Darkness was one of the most fulfilling personal-exploration and introspective experiences she ever had. Marthe can’t be compared to a real band, but for her, it’s good psychological therapy to go deeper within her inner self.
Altogether, Sisters of Darkness is a rugged ‘n’ righteous first entry for Marthe. Caligari recommends this wild ‘n’ weird recording for fans of the aforementioned Sacrilege as well as Bathory, particularly the period right before and after Blood Fire Death, and also Amebix, Death SS, and even early Varathron, Barathrum, and Mortuary Drape.
On the day of its release on cassette tape, stream Sisters of Darkness in its entirety exclusively HERE, courtesy of Decibel, North America’s only monthly metal magazine. Order info can be found HERE at Caligari‘s Bandcamp. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Marthe’s Sisters of Darkness
1. Sisters of Darkness
2. Married to a Grave
3. Ave Mysteris
4. Awake Arise Silence