Recorded over a two year period, this debut album is a dark and dense affair, and as mysterious as its creator. Arising from an ethereal intro, evoking unearthly shenanigans deep in a moonlit wood somewhere in the darkened arsehole of nowhere, the title track is a fairly standard black/death crossover affair, highlighted by rapid fire blastbeats and an intense, guttural vocal.
However, with ‘Life Is A Sabbath’, built on a slower, doomier and more aggressive riff, things take a darker and more twisted route, evoking both traditional Scandinavian black metal and its even darker eastern European cousins with its combination of dense atmospherics and melodic hooks, made more effective by the use of layered guitars for the first time. ‘Last Song Before A Glorious Dead’ is brief and almost joyous in its melancholy before the towering ‘Kult Ov Thanatos’ kicks in with its monstrously dark, doomy intro which quickly evolves into a classic death metal riff, complete with a gloriously contrasting clean/growling vocal line: indeed, the combination of almost operatic serenades and Satanic gruesomeness are one of the highlights of this impressive oeuvre.
One of the true standout moments is also one of the most surprising: the instrumental ‘Evocation Inside The Egyptian Corridor’ – a dark, jarring piano soliloquy, based around a single, simple chord which does exactly what it sets out to do by evoking a sense of foreboding for what is to come… and that is the album’s highlight, ‘Psychedelik Satanisme’, a dark, brooding slice of doom-infused blackness built around a swirling melody and a background chant designed to instill fear into the bones of the very Papal Conclave.
‘A l’Ombres des Sépulchres’ is far from perfect – it is very derivative in places, and the production is somewhat muddy, especially in relation to many of the background vocals, which would have benefited hugely from more accentuation, but there is plenty of imagination on display to make this not quite a black metal masterpiece but a one worth veering off the beaten track to explore.[8/10]
- Astral Is Cold Like Death (Intro)
- A l’Ombres des Sépulchres
- Life Is A Sabbath
- Last Song Before A Glorious Dead
- Kult Ov Thanatos
- Gods Of Hate
- Evocation Inside The Egyptian Corridor
- Psychedelik Satanisme
- The Dark Wotan’s Way
- My Requiem (Outro)
‘A l’Ombres des Sépulchres’ is available now on Exu Rei Records.
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