Welcome to a slightly-delayed fifteenth edition of Morsels – I hope the quality of the music we’ve dug up more than makes up for the wait!

Ascia Morsels

First up we head to Sardinia for some greasy thrills courtesy of Ascia. This band has been going a few years now, releasing a trio of demos, the highlights of which they’ve now collected together with a couple of newly-recorded tracks thrown in for a bit of value for long term fans. The Frazettaish artwork of the album’s cover gives things away as to where the collective Ascia head is at musically (Molly Hatchet? -Ed), with the band grinding out a neatly fuzzed-out take on the early High On Fire playbook with generally pleasing results.

New track Greenland is probably the pick of the bunch of the ten tracks on offer, but that’s not to throw any shade on the older material, all of which (but especially the bouncy Dhul Qarnayn) has plenty of going for it if you enjoy a bit of stoner doom or proto-metal in your musical diet. Initially formed by Black Capricorn alumnus Fabrizio Monni as a solo project (in the truest sense – it was just Monni involved initially), the band is now a living, breathing entity thanks to the enlistment of Riccardo Atzei on bass and vocals and drummer Matteo Defraia.  Can’t wait to hear new music from the new lineup, but this is a good primer to be going on with – well worth a punt!

Missiles Morsels
From Italian Caveman metal to Swedish post punk in a single bound! That’s MMM for you! Missiles don’t actually bring much metal to the Morsels table, it has to be said, but there’s an awful lot of good music on their new album Weaponize Tomorrow so they make the cut!

If you like the coldness of Beastmilk or the clanging industrialisms of old eighties goth names too numerous to mention, then there’s something for you on this record that’s going to to tug at the heartstrings. Opening cut Dead Summer Moon is a nigh-on perfect exposition of the post-punk arts in their most accessible form, Living In A Nuclear Town adds a thumping, bass-led angle that might get you thinking about the White Stripes, whilst the sinister pulse of standout cut End of The Line has the cadaverous fingerprints of New York legends Suicide all over it. This is high class stuff, make no mistake, and, even if it doesn’t soundd like the sort of stuff that gets your pulse racing normally, I’d strongly advise you to wrap your ears around Weaponize Tomorrow ASAP – You will be pleasantly surprised, I guarantee!

Tetsuo Morsels

Back to Italy now, and the post rock stylings of Tetsuo. Their new album, Dots, is a beguiling mix of jagged guitars, pulsating, clanking bass and at times almost Krautrock rhythms… I actually found it quite difficult to encapsulate in a my usual jaunty style so here’s what the band themselves say about the whole thing: “Dots is a story of routine. Every Dots song was born on a Friday night, nearly at the same hour, during our rehearsals, in the same location. Dots is the result of a sound evolution where everything around it remains the same: same beers, same whiskeys, same volumes, same way of thinking about riffs, same expectations about what we’re doing, giving our best in every circumstance… always the same, always different…”.

Probably the most enlightening thing I can add to that is the fact that Dots doesn’t really sound like too much that’s around in the marketplace at the moment. Occasionally the ear will latch on to a bit of Killing Joke, maybe a glimpse of Queens of The Stone Age (fleeting, thankfully…). Julian‘s hoarse bark is backed by a nice wall of sound from guitarists Claudio and Stefano, whilst the metronomic rhythms of bassist Paolo and superb drummer Enrico keep things percolating nicely on the right side of interesting at all times. When they sprint off into a black metal section on Lies and Mirrors you’ll find yourself cheering them on, delighted by the carefree brilliance of it all, especially when that section in turn morphs into a grinding take on space rock… this is cerebral music, sure, but visceral enough to satiate your more base instincts at the same time!

Samane Morsels

To Finland now, and the ‘dark and meditative’ strains of Šamane. The three piece outfit liken their music to Dead Can Dance or, perhaps more pertinently, Messa, but really, if you’ve time for any of the plethora of neofolkish acts making waves on the World Stage at the moment then you’ll find something to enjoy within the foreboding, portentous likes of the opening track from their new album Solstice, Kehrä.

Instrumentation is sparse but that doesn’t stop guitarist Aleksi (who you might know from his work in the excellent Grave Pleasures), vocalist Saara and drummer Otto from going to town on the atmospherics; Second track Se itkee sadetta is positively dripping in the stuff as the band build a series of ebbs and flows through the hinterland of the imagination. If Mazzy Star transported from the warmth of the US to the freezing climbs of Tampere sounds like a notion you can get behind, then this might well be your new favourite jam of 2024…

Me? I like the title track, wherein Saara adds a Middle Eastern tinge to the vocals as Otto beats drama from his skins and Aleksi embellishes with plucked strings (an Oud, I think); It sumtuous, sensual and slightly unsettling all at the same time, and the way they track builds shows the mastery the trio has of their chosen medium. If you often find yourself alone in the small hours, contemplating the way of the world within nothing but a glass of something red and warming for company, this is the perfect soundtrack.

That’s it for today – I hope we’ve tantalised your musical tastebuds a little with at least some of the artists we’re recommending tis time around…

See you all again soon for some more morsels!