Chronique | Keygen Church - Nel Nome Del Codice

Pierre Sopor 19 mars 2024

Vittorio D'Amore, aka Victor Love, is a busy guy. Until Dope Stars Inc awakes from its slumber, the Italian artist seems to exist in a parallel world of cryptic computer codes and references that only those who know what MS-DOS, ASCII and that sort of thing mean will be able to grasp. Since 2018, he has been breathing between two Master Boot Record albums with Keygen Church: while the guitars are still synthesised, this project is distinguished by a baroque approach that gives it all its charm.  We've been dehumanized? Perhaps, but in Keygen Church, spirits are embodied in music.

True to its universe, Victor Love evokes the world of video games (Castlevania comes obvisouly to mind) but, with Nel Nome Del Codice, asserts Keygen Church's identity better than before. While the aggressive riffs and frenetic rhythms are still there (La Chiave Del Mio Amor), the emphasis is on decorum. Pipe organ, piano, mystical choirs: this new album doesn't skimp on theatrical effects to impose its gothic and sacred atmosphere, and the influences are more obscure, between doom (the heaviness of the intro to Lode Al Disco Sacro imposes a church-like silence) and digitised black metal. Just imagine for a moment that Bach was a fan of extreme metal and retro-gaming...

Victor Love composes live in front of his most dedicated fans, during unannounced and unarchived streaming sessions, small community events that create a certain mystery around an approach full of easter-eggs for those who have the patience (and the keys) to look for them. Musically, Keygen Church have made its compositions more complex, each track taking time to develop and soar, seeming to tell a story that is often tragic (the title track, which begins in contemplation before turning to demonic incantation) or epic (La Voce Del Destino and its exalted, luminous crescendo). The album flies by at breakneck speed, with no one track necessarily standing out more than another, forming an intense, possessed whole soundtrack to a techno-occult drama.

For fans of Victor Love's work, whose raging violence and distinctive retro-futuristic sound texture are well appreciated, Keygen Church brings a gothic twist full of the mysterious splendour of cathedrals, somewhere between sepulchral perfume and baroque opera. It's quite absorbing, and when listened to alongside another activity, will give the latter the intensity of a particularly tough boss fight.