I’ve expressed my nerdy idolatry for Italian ‘zine Vincebus Eruptum on numerous occasions — each new issue seems to bring out a feeling of admiration for their project and their accomplishment of it — but as I flip through the latest edition, No. 18, of the vaunted publication, even more of a standout is just how together the Vincebus Eruptum product is. Editor Davide Pansolin has been slowly, steadily expanding the brand over the last year plus, taking Vincebus Eruptum from a reactivated fanzine to a state-licensed associazione culturale, beginning to work directly with bands as a label and promotion vehicle and continuing to give Italian heavy rock and psychedelia its best public representation as the scene grows in no small part because of its own efforts. An example? When I removed Vincebus Eruptum from its plastic sleeve, inside I found a CD copy of Essay on a Drunken Cloud (review here) by Anuseye. It’s not the first time Vincebus Eruptum has tied in Vincebus Eruptum Recordings releases with the publication itself, but even the sheer amount of coordination involved was impressive, since not only was the album placed right between the two pages containing an interview with guitarist/vocalist Claudio C. (also ex-That’s all Folks!), but those two pages were also the dead-center of the issue itself.
Attention to detail like that, coupled with the psychedelic design and unabashed readiness to support the European heavy psych scene make Vincebus Eruptum indispensable. The Anuseye CD, which is only available with the issue (vinyl is for sale separately), is also reviewed — I won’t begrudge Pansolin laying it on a bit thick in the self-promotion department as the ‘zine celebrates its 15th anniversary — and as usual, the company it keeps is an impressive swath of recent heavy rock and psych releases from groups like Octopus Syng, Fatso Jetson/Herba Mate, Hot Lunch, L’Ira del Baccano, Vibravoid, Electric Moon and so on. Of course, Italy is thoroughly represented, both in independent bands and through labels like Go Down Records, Heavy Psych Sounds and Vincebus Eruptum Recordings. As ever, the pieces are concise and to the point — there’s a lot to fit — but informative and give a sense of what the groups are going for and whether or not they get there, and I find myself with an expanding wishlist of stuff to check out. Business as usual, in that regard, but it’s no less true reading No. 18 than it ever is, Pansolin handling all of the reviews by himself this time out except for Essay on a Drunken Cloud, which he turns over to Roberto Mattei.
Being a sucker for that kind of thing, I tend to go to the reviews first, but interviews with Electric Wizard, Swedish sleeper-hitters Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus and retro cyclone Prisma Circus make for fascinating fare, and having seen their name with an increasing frequency, I appreciated a chance to get a better sense of Australia’s Child as well. Da Captain Trips, who also have a record out through Vincebus Eruptum Recordings, are interviewed, though I think most fascinating of all is the chat with Wolf, who heads the German imprint World in Sound, and is responsible for fostering quality acts like Samsara Blues Experiment, the aforementioned Prisma Circus, The Lone Crows, Doctor Cyclops and many others. Topped off by Kabuto cover art recreating the Malleus cover of the first issue 15 years ago, a stirring note in the beginning from Pansolin himself, and the Anuseye album for a soundtrack, and Vincebus Eruptum seems to be passing the 15-year mark going stronger than ever. As someone always happy to nerd out on what Pansolin and his crew have going, I couldn’t be happier for them and hope we get another 15 years of quality, dedicated psychedelia coverage and much more.