Italian chaos merchants!
Hailing from the Dillinger/Between the Buried and Me/Candiria school of hardcore orientated avant-garde weirdness, these Italians draw influence from those bands and put their own unique slant on the style.
ICO are one of those bands whose arrangements seem absolutely all over the place, but it obviously makes complete sense to the band members themselves, as it all seems to come together at the end of the day. This kind of schizophrenic delivery can confuse the first time listener, and it takes multiple sittings to fully get your head around. As I sit here I'm probably on my fifth or six listen and I'm still having a little difficulty ingesting it all! It's actually a good thing that the album only runs to a streamlined 33 minutes, otherwise it would make your head spin.
Opening track 'Reflections' sets the tone for the album with it's completely off kilter grooves and searingly angry vocal assault, leading into a 'soothing' (only by ICO standards) but brief piano interlude, before returning to the offbeat chaos once again. And in typical fashion it's all over in just three and a half minutes. Each song follows the same 'pattern' of having no discernible pattern, if that make sense, and even with the aforementioned brevity, of the individual songs and the album overall, it all gets a little bit much by the time you get to the 'straightforward' (again, only by comparison to the rest of the album) instrumental closer 'There'.
You have to admire bands like this who utterly eschew commerciality in favour of just doing their own thing. The bands mentioned at the top of this review prove that there is a market for this type of 'music as chaos' approach, and this Euro version could very well slot in nicely alongside such luminaries of the scene. Controverso is a bizarre and pulsating listening experience.