A relatively short-lived duet (were only a trio for a few months when formed around 2001), Mesmerico managed to release Magnete through Octopus Records in 2009, before splitting up shortly afterwards. Can a guitar/drums duet only create progressive rock?
The answer listening to this album is certainly yes, although the expected shortcomings are there.
The final result is fairly interesting and pretty complicated, keeping in mind that this comes out from only two musicians (Fabrizio Piccolo on guitars and Luca Bottigliero on drums). They are not short of ideas, which they execute in a very dynamic way, with the album sounding as if being recorded live in studio, in full jamming mode. The first words that come in mind after listening to Magnete are 'punk', 'hardcore', 'heavy' and 'avant'. Certainly this is not your typical (if there is one!) RIO/Avant album as the focus is mainly on creating heavy/hardcore music played in the most abstract ways. The likes of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum have been definitely consulted in the composition process.
The duo at times freely experiments with jazz patterns (Superponte Verde) that interchange with high-speed punk/post-hardcore passages. Other moments find them drowning in electronic/drone soundscapes with a hint of King Crimson (Lagher) or creating dark/brooding atmospheres by using odd sequences of musical notes at lethargic tempos (We Live in a Paradise). The majority of music though appears to be driven by anger and that comes out more successfully in the short tracks (Silos, Rasoterra) where the duo uses abrupt breaks and noisy vocals to produce a rather unconventional package.
If you are looking for structures and themed music, it is unlikely that you are going to find it here. In addition, there are several moments of "dead space" on the album that are just filled with blunt atmospheres, not in any way contributing to the music. If you are looking for dynamic, "in-your-face" avant/hardcore riffs and improvisation, then there is plenty of that here.
Fans of "unorthodox" and "anarchistic" avant/hardcore should give this a go. Highlights: Superponte Verde, Palazzi
Thanks to Fabricio Di Vicino of Psych Up Records for making this available for review.