Metal signifiers prominently figure into the music of Italian duo Ovo: Bruno's snare 'n' tom bash-dash underscoring Stefania Pedretti's strained (sometimes churlish), demon-possessed vocals bring to mind Linda Blair in The Exorcist and Old Time Relijun's Arrington de Dionyso alike. Yet metal they aren't, really. On their latest recording, the gritty Miastenia (Load Records), Pedretti either wails in her native tongue against Bruno's backbeat or throttles her guitar in a hardcore punk style — spitting heaves and shudders of tune-challenged sonic gravel as rough-hewn as her variously bleated, mewled, hyperventilating, and scarred-larynx singing. When the pair introduces additional instrumental elements — cello swipes on "Voo Doo," spurts of harmonica on the disquieting, wafer-thin title track — the effect is chilling. No translation is provided, making Ovo's doom power dirges even more ungraspable and foreboding. Bring your crucifix, earplugs, a vial of holy water, and perhaps, just in case, a change of underwear. — Ray Cummings


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