What, you might ask, qualifies a record as Berserk? In this case, going Berserk! combines a string of cunning abstracts, tinted with goofy metrics, blistering progressive-rock etudes, anti-pop, heavy metal and ghostly ambient electronics effects. The masterminds are Italians, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari and bassist Lorenzo Feliciati. Perhaps the leaders overdosed on energy drinks, given the sheer power and zany underpinnings they bring to the table.
With alternating personnel including, New York City-based keyboard wizard Jamie Saft and ex-King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto lending their wares, the program merges lighthearted antics with cataclysmic extravaganzas. The Spaghetti Western whistling sequence on the madcap opener, "Macabre Dance," offers an unanticipated respite from the booming undertow, while "Fetal Claustrophobia" kindles a premise of what the popular rock act Queen would have sounded like had they ventured into an avant format.
The album unveils surprises and nuances on additional listens; on "Clairvoyance," ace modern jazz trombonist Gianluca Petrella dishes out a brawny and dark solo atop a staggered groove, treated with foreboding electronics manipulations and blossoming undercurrents. The musicians also generate pensive moments, but summon memories of vintage prog rock during "Wait Until Dark," which is centered on Feliciati's deep bottom-end and Mastelotto's massive backbeats, amid subtle hues and Fornasari's weighty crunch chords. Here, the ensemble musters a phantasmagorical storyline.
The program closes with "Dream Made of Water," designed with Fornasari's prophetic vocals and basso profondo screams atop a whirlwind of electronic processing and electric keys, as the band surges into an interminable void. Nonetheless, there is a method to these musicians' madness. Berserk! is one of those outings that play games with the psyche via tempestuous intentions, equating to a fun-filled, action-packed rendezvous.
Track Listing: Macabre Dance; Fetal Claustrophobia; Blow; Not Dead; Clairvoyance; First; Dream Made of Wind; Wait Until Dark; Latent Prints; Dream Made of Water.