Combining the intimacy of Johnny Cash with the macabreness of Nick Cave, Oliver Mavilio is a singer-songwriter with a dark side. Based in Norwich, the UK multi-instrumentalist transforms his morbid obsession and disturbing themes into a unique sound. Beginning only two months ago, Mavilio is a newbie on the scene; however, that doesn’t mean he’s sitting in the corner without being noticed. Featuring on Divide & Conquer, Medienkonverter and online radio stations, Mavilio is gaining recognition on an international scale. We begin with his self-titled debut EP.
Melding elements of post-punk and melodic metal, Oliver Mavilio finds the delicate balance between disturbing and decadent in the four-track EP. Inspired by true crime documentaries, the release incorporates morbid themes, however, the distressing quality contributes to a surreal otherworldly ambience.
Reminiscent of The Birthday Party with powerful guitar solos, Mavilio’s music has a hard rock heaviness but it is the distorted vocals that capture the darkness within. Reminding me instantly of Marilyn Manson, the brash tone throws you into a mire of despair. Ranging from the metal-influenced ‘Sinner’ to the high-paced ‘Outlaw’, Mavilio showcases his innovativeness and versatility as an artist.
What I find most intriguing about Oliver Mavilio is the execution of the compelling lyricism. In ‘My Love’ – a song about “a recently widowed woman weeping beside her husband’s tombstone” – Mavilio adopts the perspective of the deceased in his narrative. Moreover, ‘Sinner’ features sounds of gagging when “taunting criminals up on the gallows”. These perspectives could be considered inconsiderate and stomach-churning, but I find a sophisticated complexity in the taboo construction.
While Oliver Mavilio seems to be a cinematic soundscape for devasation, it is actually a form of escapism at its core. Aggressive, abrupt and gut-wrenching, the tracks can leave you shivering; however, Mavilio touches on human fragility in the heady tunes. Complicated, intriguing and seductively barbarous, Mavilio is breaking boundaries with his refreshing decay.