Music Spotlight: Umberto, Prophecy of the Black Widow (2010)

MusicReviewUmberto

by Casey Jaywork | Editor in Chief

Umberto’s Prophecy of the Black Widow is basically what you’d get if you crossed the soundtrack of a psychological horror film with the soundtrack of a late-1980s sci-fi video game like Metroid II. Comprised of weird drones, mechanical clicks, and alternation between hair-raising monotones and funky beats, this album is well-suited to hipsters and serial killers. Created by Kansas City musician Matt Hill, AKA Umberto, Prophecy is guaranteed to creep, thrill, and facilitate grooving.

Probably the best, or at least most accessible, track is “Night Stalking,” which opens with about half a minute of piercing falsetto, sort of a synth imitation of a violin, plus deep synth chanting. Just when you think you can’t take any more of a song that is obviously dedicated to Satanic blood rituals, a corkscrew of technified “wow-dow- wow-dow” kicks in, followed by dance-inducing drums and bass. Suddenly you realize this isn’t a song for black magic; it’s for a dancing, zombified Michael Jackson.

That said, there are plenty of tracks that are not recommended for the mentally unstable, such as “Someone Chasing Someone Through a House” and “Widow of the Web.” Umberto makes great use of drawn-out, dissonant noise to create the sense that, somewhere just beyond your peripheral vision, there is an armed, masked man slowly limping toward you.

If you’re tired of drowning in a lukewarm ocean of blandly pleasant pop music, and/or if you wish to encourage violent psychosis in yourself, this album is highly recommended.

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