Album Review – Ecclesia / De Ecclesiæ Universalis (2020)

Showcasing the perfect syncretism between Heavy and Doom Metal, this army of French inquisitors stands strong on their crusade against every doom heretic with their incendiary debut album.

Playing what they like to call epic and dark Doom metal-influenced Heavy Metal since their formation as a trio in 2016, the now fully-formed army of French inquisitors known as Ecclesia (the Latin word for “church”) unleashed upon us sinners this Friday the 13th their debut full-length musical mass De Ecclesiæ Universalis, which is Latin for “the universal church”, following up on their highly acclaimed 2017 demo Witchfinding Metal of Doom. Armed with purifying fire, blessed swords and Holy Rage, the band currently comprised of Frater Arnhwald on vocals, Julius Accusator and The Witchfinder General on the guitars, Frater Ignis Sacer on bass, Pater Hexenhammer on drums and Pater Walkelinus on organ and keyboards deals with the 12th Century dark medieval age of Holy Inquisition in their lyrics, showcasing the perfect syncretism between Heavy and Doom Metal in their music and, therefore, being highly recommended for admirers of the music by Candlemass, Cathedral and Solitude Aeternus, among other giants of the 80’s heavy and doom scene, standing strong on their crusade against every doom heretic and urging us all to confess our unholy sins.

Gregorian chants and the always tenebrous sound of the rain ignite the album in the bold intro Excommunicamus, before the strident riffage by Julius and The Witchfinder General dictate the rhythm in the hybrid of classic Heavy and Doom Metal titled Vatican III, a superb song to start the album where the rockin’ vocals by Arnhwald truly enhance the song’s impact and blasphemous feel, whereas their Black Sabbath vein beautifully explodes in Ecclesia Sathani, with Walkelinus’ phantasmagorical pipes bringing a touch of evil to the overall result, blending the glory of the 70’s and 80’s with their modern-day Doom Metal. Then get ready to crack your neck headbanging in the name of the unholy church of doom ruled by Ecclesia in Montségur, where Hexenhammer and Walkelinus are in absolute sync with their respective beats and keys while Arnhwald continues to fire his ass-kicking, King Diamond-inspired vocal lines. And never tired of hammering their sonic weapons, Ecclesia deliver another amazing tune entitled Behold the Heretic Burning, feeling like it was taken from one of Dio’s classic albums (which obviously means excellency), while Ignis Sacer makes sure the earth shakes to the sound of his menacing bass.

After such amazing first half of the album, how about seven minutes of a fusion of classic Doom Metal with Stoner and Southern Metal, spiced up by epic keys and soaring vocals? That’s what you’ll get in the Stygian hymn Antichristus. Needless to say, the band’s guitar duo will pierce your skin deep with their venomous riffs, ending the song in the most visceral way possible, and you better prepare your ears for another round of slashing riffs in Deus Vult, where the church-like organ pipes by Walkelinus will captivate your mind, opening it up for the slamming Rock N’ Roll crafted by his band members while sounding as harmonious and thrilling as it can be. It’s time to go full doom in the cryptic God’s Trial, with the sluggish beats by Hexenhammer walking hand in hand with the riffage by Julius and The Witchfinder General, being tailored for admirers of the most primeval form of Doom Metal (albeit not as powerful as the rest of the album). Before all is said and done, we’re treated to their cover version for Venom’s classic Burn The Witches (actually, the original song is titled “Don’t Burn The Witch”), from their 1982 cult album Black Metal, and you check the original version HERE, with Ecclesia’s version being absolutely awesome from start to finish, morphing into the stunning church-inspired outro Ite Missa Est to put a proper ending to their metal mass.

In case you’re considering joining a church for any given reason, I suggest you go check the services provided at the temple of doom ruled by Ecclesia on their Facebook page, and purchase your copy of the sensational De Ecclesiæ Universalis from their own BandCamp page, from the Aural Music webstore, from Season of Mist, from jpc.de, from Best Buy or from Amazon, proving to those French metallers you’re not a doom heretic and that you’re worth their mercy. Put differently, why not confessing your darkest and most impure sins to the sound of the ass-kicking metal music blasted by Ecclesia in their flammable newborn spawn? I’m sure both God and the Devil will love to witness you succumbing to their visceral, damned creations.

Best moments of the album: Vatican III, Montségur, Antichristus and Deus Vult.

Worst moments of the album: God’s Trial.

Released in 2020 Aural Music

Track listing
1. Excommunicamus 1:07
2. Vatican III 4:44
3. Ecclesia Sathani 5:26
4. Montségur 6:03
5. Behold the Heretic Burning 4:57
6. Antichristus 7:11
7. Deus Vult 5:33
8. God’s Trial 6:32
9. Burn The Witches (Venom cover) 3:25
10. Ite Missa Est 1:39

Band members
Frater Arnhwald – vocals
Julius Accusator – lead guitar
The Witchfinder General – rhythm guitar
Frater Ignis Sacer – bass
Pater Hexenhammer – drums
Pater Walkelinus – organ, keyboards

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.