Verdena are an Italian rock band from Albino, Bergamo. They consist of brothers Alberto (vocals, guitar) and Luca Ferrari (drums) and Roberta Sammarelli (bass), but they're often joined by a keyboardist while they're on tour to provide backing vocals and additional instruments.
Formed in 1995 when they were teenagers under the name Verbena, they eventually changed its spelling when they found out an American band was already called like that. Their first, self-titled album was released in 1999, showcasing a heavy grunge and alternative rock influence and, unusual for an Italian band, a fondness for mind-screwy lyrics which hardly, if ever, made sense - the focus being mainly on the sound and images provided by the words, often leading to bizarre results, though they've gotten a bit less abstract with time.
Throughout the years their music has evolved enormously and unpredictably, going from a straightforward approach to an increasingly layered and complex sound which bloomed with ''Wow'' in 2011, a double album that arguably marked a transition from being an alternative cult band to reaching a wider audience without selling out.
Surprising everyone, the band planned to release yet another double album in 2015, but the project was eventually split in two parts: Endkadenz Vol.1, released in January, and Endkadenz Vol.2, released in late August.
- Verdena (1999)
- Solo Un Grande Sassonote (2001)
- Il Suicidio Dei Samurainote (2004)
- Requiem (2007)
- Wow (2011)
- Endkadenz Vol. 1 (2015)
- Endkadenz Vol. 2 (2015)
The band provides examples of:
- All Drummers Are Animals: Luca. He's a quiet and really nice guy offstage, but his drumming can get very intense and he's often responsible for the "crazy" side of their music.
- Amicable Exes: Alberto and Roberta.
- Arc Words: "Quello che fai non basta mai" ("what you do is never enough") first appeared in "Ovunque", 1999. It appears again in 2007 in "Was?".
- Backmasking: The last part of "Sotto Prescrizione del Dott. Huxley" is a recording of a religious procession in reverse, most likely just to screw with listeners.
- The B-Side "Passi Da Gigante" has some backmasked lyrics spoken by Roberta, but good luck trying to understand them when you play that part backwards.
- Badass Driver: The subject of "Lui Gareggia".
- Careful with That Axe: Alberto generally loves this. His bloodcurling scream in "Was?" is probably the best example, but "Don Calisto" and "Fuoco Amico I" don't fool around either.
- Chroma Key: Intentionally inverted in the video for "Un Po' Esageri": the members wear Chroma Key suits while playing in an alley and normal footage of the band appears in their silhouettes instead.
- Control Freak: One of the reasons why they seem to take more and more time between albums is that they're extremely autocritical and every single thing they put on tape has to sound just right.
- Darker and Edgier: Requiem is a much bleaker record than the previous ones, and easily their darkest.
- Both volumes of Endkadenz are this compared to Wow, in different ways: Endkadenz Vol. 1 is more melancholy and alternates dark and light moments, while Endkadenz Vol. 2 is more airy but also contains some of their heaviest stuff ever.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Nothing explicitly states it, but given the title, "Onan" might be about this.
- According to Alberto, "Castelli Per Aria" is about a guy "thinking" about his lover.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The cover art for Requiem.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Luca, sometimes. In this article's image he's the guy on the left.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Their first album has almost nothing in common with what came afterwards as it's very stripped down, fairly light and doesn't contain the psychedelic or stoner influences that are now typical of their music.
- Epic Rocking: Solo Un Grande Sasso is made of this. Most of its songs were written during long, drawn-out jams and often reach 7 or 8 minutes. "Il Gulliver" and "Sotto Prescrizione del Dott. Huxley" from Requiem count as well, since they're both around 12 minutes long (although the second one has a brief silent part).
- Everything's Better with Samurai: The titles of their third album and its final song are a reference to samurai.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: "Rilievo".
- Genre Roulette: Wow and Endkadenz go from alternative rock to mellow acoustic pop, stoner, new wave, neo-psychedelia, power pop, hard rock, folk rock, industrial-sounding chaos, experimental music and who knows what else.
- Gratuitous English: All of their songs are sung in Italian, but that doesn't stop Alberto from putting random English words or sentences here and there. For example, "Razzi Arpia Inferno E Fiamme" begins with him saying "Hello, Miss Jane", "Il Gulliver" has him randomly screaming "Everybody let's rock!" and "Everybody get drunk!", while "Caños" contains "It's true" and "Seven, seven".
- Gratuitous German: "Was?" is German for "what?".
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Endkadenz Vol. 1 and 2 are prone to this, since the vocals are often distorted and the music tends to be louder than the voice.
- Last Note Nightmare: An otherwise calm, albeit dark song, "Rilievo" becomes increasingly creepy and demented at the end.
- Lighter and Softer: Wow, coming after the fairly depressing Requiem and containing several happy, calm songs. The band noted this, saying it was meant to be an "anti-Requiem".
- Metal Scream: A couple of times in "Il Gulliver", and occasionally in other songs.
- Mind Screw: Their lyrics, more often than not. "Stenuo" turns it Up to Eleven with a completely nonsensical chorus where the made-up words are treated like legit ones. Yeah.
- Miniscule Rocking: "Was?", being barely 2 minutes long, is fairly short for their standards. Bonus points for being a fast-paced, cacophonic mess.
- Mood Whiplash: All their albums from Requiem onwards are this in spades. In fact, mood whiplash is extremely common for them even throughout the course of a single song.
- New Sound Album: While they've never really made two albums that sound exactly the same, Wow was markedly different from the previous ones, heavily featuring pianos and shifting subtly to a poppier sound (at times).
- Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Roberta in "Ormogenia".
- Pun-Based Title: "Muori Delay" in Italian sounds both like "die, delay" and "you die of her".
- Record Producer: Starting from Il Suicidio Dei Samurai, Alberto has personally produced every Verdena album.
- Scatting: "Omashee" is sung entirely like this.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: The only album with occasional backing vocals provided by Roberta is Solo Un Grande Sasso. Everywhere else, it's always Alberto himself.
- Endkadenz Vol.1 and Endkadenz Vol.2 feature an interesting variant of this: in several songs Alberto uses an effect which duplicates his voice and makes it sound an octave higher. The result is often quite eerie, especially in "Puzzle".
- Shout-Out: Several song titles, especially early on: the band is quite fond of acknowledging the various influences and inspirations behind their music; as a result many titles reference other bands ("Cara Prudenza" is a shout-out to "Dear Prudence" by The Beatles), movies ("Solo Un Grande Sasso" is a translated quote from the movie "The Thin Red Line") or novels ("Glamodrama" references "Glamorama" by Bret Easton Ellis).
- "Rossella Roll-Over"'s beginning is a clear shout-out to "Ob La Di, Ob La Da".
- "Sorriso in Spiaggia pt 1 & pt 2" ("Smile on the Beach") is a shout-out to the The Beach Boys album "Smiley Smile", a personal favorite of Alberto.
- Significant Anagram: The song "Loniterp" was inspired by Interpol, so the title is an anagram of their name.
- Step Up to the Microphone: In "Omashee" Luca and Alberto swap their respective roles. "Ormogenia" is sung by Roberta.
- Studio Chatter: A pretty funny one at the beginning of "Il Tramonto Degli Stupidi", where as the band gets ready to play Roberta says "I gotta burp..." and Alberto replies "Don't talk bullshit!".
- At the end of "Passi Da Gigante" you can hear the band members laughing.
- Surreal Music Video: "Phantastica", "Angie", "Caños", "Isacco Nucleare"...well, let's just say most of them.
- Verbal Tic: Alberto often inserts random vocalizations and unintelligible words during the instrumental parts of their songs.
- Vocal Evolution: Alberto sounds noticeably young and boyish in their first album; of course, he was barely 20 at the time. He also noted his vocal technique has improved a lot since then.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Very much so.