Black metal, for many years now, has become secretive.
It has wrapped itself in shawl masks, and peeked out from under drowning tons of reverb.
One explanation is that it’s been on a journey of rediscovery. New bands want old magic.
It’s also a reaction to the big names of years past bringing its mysteries into disrepute. Becoming showmen, if not outright salesmen.
That’s all laudable. It was due a major correction. But at the same time, fighting through deliberately obscure and difficult productions has been a bit of a check to enjoying these bands and albums more fully.
Antiversum, still relative newcomers that they are, may be striking just the right balance out the other side of this rebirth.
In their now heavily downtuned and effected way, they retain an atmosphere of mystery and obscurity, while at the same time benefitting from a thick and warm production that allows their speed and riffing to really break through.
The black dark of the void, to be sure – but with pinpricks of light.
So this is far better than the already appealing ‘Total Vacuum’.
Granted it could have a stronger opener than ‘Antinova’, but it’s ‘Chao E Orta’ that really gets things started with heavy tom work complimenting doleful guitars.
That ‘Chao’ note shouldn’t go unobserved. With the guitars in particular there is more than a nod to Mayhem’s ‘Ordo Ad Chao’ if not in riffing then in composition and warmth of tone – and those occasional strange ambient whistling noises.
They’ve really beefed up what were considerably weedier guitars on the last outing to a tone that is now huge and full – as grainy photos of Orange and HiWatt amp heads on their facebook page attest to. A fantastic development.
I love how this track explodes into speed near the back. A dark swirl that’s audible and powerful.
Acceleration continues with ‘Cosmos Comedenti’ which ratchets up the impressive pace. The way it settles into its second, dissonant and threatening riff is masterful. It’s an absolutely superb track, reminding strongly of the Icelandic sound.
Four long tracks weighing in around nine minutes apiece would normally be a bit of a warning sign. In fact, Antiversum make it work for them. One is left feeling satisfied after these, sated with the band’s sound, not wanting more, but rewarded by what’s been.
Invictus’ faith in them for a second release has been more than rewarded. And while I’m a little late getting round to this one (it was released back in October), under no circumstances should it be overlooked.
A dark, tortuous and yet absolutely digestible listen from a band currently in their hey – reminiscent of bands like Druddkh for being able to be obdurate and fierce without all the nervous musical and aesthetic cover of other latter day acts.
4.2 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 30/12/17