It was in 2020 that Gionata “Omega” Potenti (Darvaza, Frostmoon Eclipse, Chaos Invocation, ex-Acherontas, ex-Blut Aus Nord, ex-Fides Inversa a.o.) surprised the world with a stunningly original Black Metal record with his solo project Nubivagant. Potenti’s musical prowess was already nowhere in doubt, but with Nubivagant he pushed the genre’s boundaries as well as his own creative skills to completely new levels. Seemingly effortlessly, he manages to combine light-hearted atmospheric Black Metal with Indie Rock of which the result is mainly characterised by his own unique, clean voice. On his second album, released last year through one of Germany’s leading Black Metal labels, Amor Fati Productions, Potenti further explored the atmospheric, droning realms of Black Metal.
The album cover of ‘The Wheel And The Universe’ is very reminiscent of its predecessor, making clear that the music on this new record is indeed a logical continuation of Potenti’s first steps with Nubivagant. The overall sound of these new recordings is a bit less clear compared to ‘Roaring Eye’, Nubivagant’s debut, but the song writing has been mellowed out even further, making the music even more of a balancing act between Black Metal and Indie Rock. The mellower approach of the music might be something to get used to for some, especially Potenti’s clean and almost feminine vocals are highly unusual and require a certain penchant for other styles of music besides Metal. Due to the enchanting and totally mesmerizing use of vocals, the music bears a distinct resemblance with one of the most overlooked Doom Metal acts of all time, The River from the UK. While the guitars are certainly not as massive and suffocatingly heavy as in The River, the kinship in the contrast between the gargantuan riffs and the almost heavenly vocals is stunning and unmistakable.
Also, if you are not averse to dreamlike, alluring and slightly androgenic Rock music like Placebo, Soap&Skin or Whispering Sons, this new work of art might (again) be something for your liking. The Black Metal contents of ‘The Wheel And The Universe’ is mostly limited to the sort of (soft) crunch in the riffs as well as the drum patterns used throughout most of the tracks, but especially in the somewhat more upbeat songs like ‘Clothed With The Sun’, which happens to be one of the highlights of the album, the Black Metal background of Potenti possibly shines through the most.
The interplay of styles and Potenti’s ingenious musicianship make this album a truly unique experience; it is not all that often that you run into something that can wear the label ‘unique’ with such pride.