If you don’t know BOTTOMLESS, they are a three-piece doom metal band founded in Italy in 2016. The self-titled debut album was published on July 16th, 2021, via the Italian record label Spikerot. The band members are well-known in the local scene: singer and guitarist Giorgio Trombino is a very prolific musician, who has been actively playing in different acts for many years, along with drummer David Lucido (the two have been part of the same bands, such as HAEMOPHAGUS, MORBO, and ASSUMPTION), while the bass player is Sara Bianchin, who happens to be the frontwoman of the Italian doomsters MESSA. Needless to say, the lineup includes three of the most promising musicians in the Italian metal scene, hence my expectations were quite high since the very first time that I heard about this project. The album consists of nine tracks, composed between 2016 and 2018, and its duration is around 45 minutes, which makes the songs – on average – quite easy to handle: there are no super long tunes, nor interludes, etc. There is also a bonus track on the CD, which brings us back to that time when compact discs were a new thing.
The first song, “Monastery,” already shows quite clearly what the album is about: it is some sort of a homage to a branch of doom metal that is not popular nowadays, not even in the middle of this stoner doom revival we are in. BOTTOMLESS, as a matter of fact, play some sort of “slowed down” heavy metal, massively influenced by American doom metal acts from the ’80s. PENTAGRAM and SAINT VITUS are the first big names that came to my mind concerning the riffing and, even if I am quite familiar with Giorgio Trombino’s versatility as a singer, I was nevertheless surprised by his performance on this album.
“Centuries Asleep,” has a catchy riff and captivating chorus that make the tune more on the BLACK SABBATH side of doom metal, so to speak. The bass line and the drumming are equally straightforward and effective: less is more, but in an unquestionably classy way. The self-titled track, on the other hand, is strongly reminiscent of the doomy vibes that are also present in a few grunge bands from the ’90s, especially SOUNDGARDEN and ALICE IN CHAINS. The songs work like a proper time machine: every single feature of the sound adds a vague sense of nostalgia, but it’s well-balanced with an overall good production. A smart and fresh approach to the writing process makes the whole thing valuable: it’s not just a heartfelt tribute to the good ol’ days, but rather a partnership of three musicians that are sharing and celebrating their common roots.
The excellent drum work in “The Talking Mask,” along with the creepy bass line on the following tune “Ash” do really give evidence of the strong chemistry between the three members in terms of groove. The solemnity and epicness of the frontman’s performance, both on vocals and on guitar, finds its peak on the guitar solo. “Losing Shape,” despite its melancholic lyrics, is the explicitly heavy metal track on this album – the pace is considerably faster and the overall atmosphere is way different, while the rockish pattern in “Loveless Reign,” filled with quite dark vibes, makes the tune some sort of nowadays’ PENTAGRAM hit.
The next-to-last tune, “Vestige,” is particularly noticeable in terms of vocals and solos, but also shows a bunch of interesting changes in pace and mood, while “Cradling Obsession” works as a proper conclusion for such an old-school but fresh release: BLACK SABBATH seems to be like the north star for the band members and they are not afraid to state it quite clearly.
The bonus track, only available on the CD version of the album, is called “Hell Vacation” and, in spite of being the first song the band has ever written, it also proves that the people involved had a precise and extremely clear idea on how the album should sound.
BOTTOMLESS, all-in-all, made a solid and straightforward debut album – the songwriting is quite old-school oriented but not in a dull way and the blend of the band members’ skills makes it high in quality. I would warmly suggest it to anyone into not-so-conventional doom metal, because in an age where tons of bands do really sound similar to each other, BOTTOMLESS manage to stand out from the crowd, in spite of sounding beautifully vintage and old-fashioned.
Written by Licia Mapelli
- Centuries Asleep
- The Talking Mask
- Losing Shape
- Loveless Reign
- Cradling Obsessions
- Hell Vacation (Bonus Track)
Giorgio Trombino – vocals, guitars
Sara Bianchin – bass
David Lucido – drums