Album Review – Absconditus / Kατάβασις (2015)

An obscure descent to the underworld in the form of extreme music by a talented Occult Black Metal act from France.

Rating5

IVR041 Absconditus_Katabasis_1600pxIn Greek mythology, Kατάβασις (pronounced “katabasis”) means a descent to the underworld, and that is exactly what you will feel while listening to the debut full-length album by French Occult Black Metal band Absconditus. By the way, the name of the band comes from Latin, meaning “occult” or “hidden”, which perfectly represents their musicality, lyrics and everything else. In other words, if you have the nerve to face such a cryptic band piercing your mind with their dark and deranged music, you may ultimately relish a distinct experience in Extreme Metal.

Founded in 2010 by guitarist/songwriter Loxias upon the ashes of French Cult Black/Death Metal band Borgia, Absconditus offer solid and dissonant melodies enhanced by hints of melancholy, drama and introspective tension, with Kατάβασις being the the initiatic path that one has to walk in order to gain freedom and mastery over existence in a demiurgic world, according to the band. Not only that, the whole album is sung entirely in French. Do you think this is already too much information to absorb? Well, wait until you read the rest of this review and, of course, listen to the entire album, and you’ll see this is just the beginning.

An intro that goes on for over three minutes like Prologue à l’Agonie (or “prologue to agony”, in English) gives you an idea of the obscure voyage that’s about to start. What begins in a slow and dark way suddenly becomes a massacre full of melancholy, setting the stage for the macabre Mystagogie des Limbes (“limbo mystagogy”), or the principles, doctrines, and practices of mysticism, powered by its beautiful lyrics (“L’effroi illumine ma voie, je perçois la ruine en eminence / Un oremus cristallin s’élève vers les cieux / La dualité de ma noblesse fait écho à la décadence des ages / Dans l’ascension vertigineuse de mon âme captive”) amidst an atmosphere generated by Blackened Doom. Is there a way vocalist Aliexagore could have sounded more desperate than this? Moreover, in my opinion its riffs somehow transport the listener to Norway due to their strong Black Metal-ish feeling.

3540396969_logoElegeía (Confession au Cénotaphe), or “elegy (confession at the cenotaph)”, which means an “empty tomb” or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere, brings forth a huge amount of darkness and disgrace, including a draconian invocation performed by Aliexagore, Loxias and Guillaume Pingard. Drummer Anderswo shows he’s an extremely technical musician whose skills contribute to add extra layers of violence and intricacy to the musicality, while Loxias seems to be hypnotized by the dark side, delivering truly demonic lines. And get ready for the ending climax of the song, it is outstanding. Darkening their sonority a bit more we have Exultet – L’Aurore Schismatique (“exultet – schismatic dawn”), the hymn of praise sung, ideally by a deacon, before the paschal candle during the Easter Vigil in the Roman Rite of Mass. It varies from atmospheric Doom Metal to pure Black Metal, with Aliexagore sounding even more satanic than in the previous tracks and with the addition of considerable dosages of progressiveness thanks to the talent of the musicians involved, as if Mastodon became a Black Metal act.

Hybris au Bord du Précipice (“hybris at the border of the precipice”), with the word “hybris” meaning extreme pride or self-confidence, is yet another exhibit of despair and chaos, and even if you don’t speak French you will love those lyrics (“Je partage le destin du fils de Prométhée / Sans assumer la puissance de l’affront / La semeuse d’étoiles attend mon retour / Nourrissant les espoirs de la vermine affamée”). The music itself is comprised of Occult and Progressive Black Metal professionally put together, where Loxias tries some new techniques that elevate the magnitude of the music, with highlights to the last part of the song being some kind of downward spiral to the depths of hell. And lastly, Le Nouvel Astre (“the new star”) is an instrumental outro as sinister as the intro, a dark but beautiful ending where the amazing guitar lines by Loxias are perfectly complemented by the complex beats by Anderswo.

Featuring an at the same time beautiful but eerie artwork by British artist Bethany White, Kατάβασις, which can be purchased at the I, Voidhanger Records BandCamp page, exhales darkness and complexity, making it a recommended choice for your extreme music collection. If a downward journey to the underworld is part of your plans, let this occult French act help you with the soundtrack.

Best moments of the album: Elegeía (Confession au Cénotaphe) and Hybris au Bord du Précipice.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing
1.Prologue à l’Agonie 3:30
2.Mystagogie des Limbes 8:46
3.Elegeía (Confession au Cénotaphe) 9:24
4.Exultet – L’Aurore Schismatique 8:39
5.Hybris au Bord du Précipice 7:56
6.Le Nouvel Astre 3:09

Band members
Aliexagore – session vocals
Loxias – guitars, bass
Anderswo – drums

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Album Review – Inconcessus Lux Lucis / Crux Lupus Corona EP (2014)

This very talented band from the UK is offering us what they call “Saturnian Black Magic”. Are you going to accept the darkness inside you, eager for this type of music?

Rating5

IVR037_INCONCESSUS_LUX_LUCIS_Crux_Lupus_Corona_front_cover_1500pxSome people will call it Occult Black Metal, others will prefer referring to it as Blackened Heavy Metal, but according to British band Inconcessus Lux Lucis themselves, the music they play is a mix of Black Metal with the aggressiveness of 80’s Heavy Metal and the grooves of 70’s Hard Rock, resulting in what the band beautifully named as “Saturnian Black Magic”. Thus, if you’re curious to actually know what Saturnian Black Magic sounds like, you must take a shot at the new EP by this Manchester-based band, entitled Crux Lupus Corona.

After releasing their debut album Disintegration: Psalms Of Veneration For The Nefarious Elite earlier this year, Inconcessus Lux Lucis (which I’m almost sure means something like “forbidden light”) is releasing this new EP inspired by the constellations Crux, Lupus and Corona (the Cross, the Wolf and the Crown, as per the 88 Modern Constellations) and all their occult significances. If that’s not weird or complex enough for you, well, just listen to their music and you will fulfill your inner desire for all things mystical.

Crux Lupus Corona kicks off with a 2-minute intro called Via Dolorosa, which already inspires the listener for more of the band’s modern music with a 70’s vibe, followed then by the first “constellation”, Crux, with its mesmerizing riffs, harsh vocals and very rhythmic drumming highly influenced by old school Heavy and Thrash Metal. It’s an amazing track, enhanced by its excellent eerie lyrics (“Now slowly undress / Sweet seed of life which you possess / And softly caress / The fruit from which I ate / A sword spins counter-deosil / Its hilt marked 358”).

Inconcessus Lux Lucis band picThe second “constellation”, Lupus, sounds like the dark side of Hard Rock clashing with demonic Black Metal, alternating slower and somber passages with faster 70’s Rock N’ Roll. Not only that, the excellent guitar solo at the end actually makes the whole song even more solid. And last but not least, we have Corona: the third “constellation” is a more melancholic tune with some outstanding instrumental, with its lyrics (“O hollow temptress, I call to thee – Fuck me! / Come, join the slow dance, with maggots, shit and entropy!”) making it easy to understand what the band wants to say with “Black Magic”, just like if they were a distant cousin of Black Sabbath with an even more bizarre attitude.

The freakish album art, created by English artist Bethany White, follows the same distinctive pattern established by the band’s music, complementing the EP in a very cohesive and interesting way. You can listen to the entire Crux Lupus Corona HERE, purchase the unique music by this very talented band from the UK, and accept the darkness inside you, eager for more devilish music.

Best moments of the album: Crux is my favorite song of the EP, although all others are pretty interesting and consistent as well.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2014 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing
1. Via Dolorosa 2:09
2. Crux 5:05
3. Lupus 5:06
4. Corona 4:55

Band members
Malphas – guitars, drums, vocals
Baal – bass