Album review: La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio - Sky Over Giza (2018)
Sky Over Giza
I first came across Milan’s La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio when they were billed to appear at a gig in Genoa in January 2020 with local band Melting Clock, a show organised by local record shop and label Black Widow Records. I was unable to get to the concert but I was intrigued by the description of their music, initially listening to the whole of SKY OVER GIZA on Bandcamp before committing myself to buying the album on vinyl - there are different coloured vinyl versions representing different planets/stars, with the first pressing running to a combined total of 300 copies. Their name, which translates as ‘Death Comes from Outer Space’ is derived from the original title of the 1959 Italian sci-fi film 'The Day The Sky Exploded'.
First track SKY OVER GIZA sets the mood. Utilising Eastern scales this is intelligent space rock (their live performances are dubbed 'Space Rituals' although there is no riff-heavy guitar or the driving rhythm that you'd get from Hawkwind in the early 70s.) There are however hints of early Floyd space rock. It's fairly high-tempo with plenty of cosmic flute floating above synth drones, enhancing the Eastern flavour. The mid section has some nice Mellotron patches.
ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE is the only track with lyrics which, combined with its relative brevity, gives it a more structured format - curtailed by a free-form section that includes wordless vocals. If anyone was expecting early Hawkwind, this track comes closest.
SIGU TOLO begins dark ambient, free-form and drifty until a drum pattern kicks in with synth washes floating above and restrained guitar that could have been played by a young Dave Gilmour. This is more UK space rock than its continental cousin, ending with a lengthy guitar-groove and a repeated short synth motif.
MORS VOCAT is darker, beginning with an almost industrial section before going free-form with some nice acoustic bass and keyboard work that seems to have been inspired by A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS, then returning to free-form with a short percussive battery that resolves into eerie synth.
FEVER, the longest track at 13'46, is reliant on delayed guitar and drones producing an unnerving or threatening atmosphere. The delay timing almost represents a rhythmic element and though there's little development it sustains tension until the final resolution where calming keyboard ripples signal the end of the fever.
This album was made to be played in the dark, a soundtrack to an (inner or outer) space exploration. It's got some nice 70's sounding instrumentation and the production is clean. It might not be what you’d expect from the band’s self-description and the music bears no relation to Hawkwind, of whom I'm not a fan - although I’d accept SPACE RITUAL is a classic album of the genre. I don't detect any doom rock though the tag of 'dark ambient' seems entirely appropriate.
But it is my kind of space rock.