Vimes's Almost (or future) topster: Messa - Feast for Water

by Vimes

Mon, 27 May 2024

Read in 3 minutes

Vimes almost understood the assignment

I’ve been thinking about revisiting my reliquary list for a while now, so when my almostopter turn came, it gave me a chance to check out the runners-up. Man, was making my pick hard! 

“Should I go with my whimsical side and subject the vortex to Dr. West’s Medicine Show and Junk Band or fly them to Dundee with Gloryhammer?” The temptation was strong, but I had better contenders. I will not spoil the possible nominees to “Vimes’ Topster 2024” and go straight to the point, instead. …damn, I just realized I picked an Italian band. 

Enter Messa’s Feast for Water. It begins on its tiptoes, with a gentle cello that fades after a minute. It is replaced by a building tension that splashes into the flowing water of “Snakeskin Drape”. We’re in Messa’s reservoir for the next 49 minutes. 

Sara’s soft, velvety voice is inconspicuous at first, yet it grabs your attention. Its colorful ups and downs really make it an additional instrument, blending perfectly with the atmosphere. 

Calmer, crooning moments seamlessly alternate with heavy and groovy riffs and the doom layers are interspersed with bluesy infusions, like in “Snakeskin Drape” or the brooding saxophone at the end of “Tulsi”, reflecting the diverse background of the band’s members. 

“Leah” has a kind of gravitas, a relentless riffy tension that does not become a burden and never overstays its welcome… Okay, the gravitas goes out of the window when I hear the line “Raise your chalice” in the chorus. Every time she mispronounces “chalice” it sounds like “câlisse”, a common Quebecois expletive.

“She Knows” is where blues and doom meet, showing that Messa are more than just a “Sabbath meets Windhand” kind of quartet. The track presents its main theme one building block at a time starting with ominous keyboards, then starting over with the vocals. By the 5 minute-mark, once each component has been introduced, the scene is complete and ready to progress before smoothly blending into “Tulsi”. 

Messa’s songwriting truly shines in “The Seer” – the initial 6/8 lulls you along waves and into a false sense of calm until Sara’s highs open the way to a solo with some of the most enjoyable progressions on the album. Rinse and repeat. “The Seer” speeds up and slows down to a dirgey pace at its own leisure and it’s a journey on which you gladly embark. 

So why on earth isn’t Messa in my top25? Very easy - I hadn’t spent enough time with the album when I first created my list (which came out about a year after its release). 

Their 2022 album, Close, and seeing them live revived my interest and while I also enjoy the rawer Belfry (2016), it is their sophomore effort that takes the crown. I would always, without fail, come back for a Feast. Re-listening and writing this blurb made me appreciate this album more -who knows, it may enter the topster halls in my next iteration of the list. Either way, enjoy this pearl in the meantime. 

Editor’s note: I hope the album never enters her top 25 so that the almostopster concept isn’t completely ruined. Thanks, Vimes.

Favourite tracks: “She Knows”, “The Seer”


8 / 10