vi – de praestigiis angelorum (2015)

this is a shining example of french black metal insanity. standing somewhere between the fury of antaeus and the demanding structures of deathspell omega, “de praestigiis angelorum” is a 45 minute soul drenching experience. the album is technically flawless and emotionally disturbing. at times you feel the protagonist to whom you root for during the entire movie receives a lengthy, excruciating torture, and you feel the pain, and at the end they die. despite evoking mostly such negative emotions, the musical excellence also leaves the listener in an unavoidable awe.

vi includes (permanent and session) members of antaeus and aosoth, led by bst (sébastien tuvi), the mastermind of aosoth, on bass & samples, blastum on drums and inrvi on guitars & vocals. once the listener gets past the distant tone of the production, which makes the album even more inaccessible, the complex and intriguing structure unravels. upon the bass-laden structure, we have masterful yet insane drumming. on every gap between furious blast beats and / or double bass attacks, blastrum showcases nice little touches and tricks while maintaining complete control, navigating the music through frequent shifts in mood and tempo. the guitars are so satisfying, utilising multi-tracks, insane riffing (in the vein of dso) and variation set the atmosphere. not so much to say about his singing that fits like a glove. no keyboards here, but sampling (not overdone) of usually eerie orthodox chanting and other horror effects strengthens the nightmarish atmosphere.

quite exhaustive, even wearying. each listen is sure to present many missed moments. despite sounding complex or even chaotic, the songs themselves are quite coherent, with an evident direction and repetition of themes. with a chanting and unsettling intro and seven tracks of black metal beauty, the fourth one “regarde tes cadavres car il ne te permettra pas qu’on les enterre” (much ctrl+v’ing here) in three motions is a stand out piece. the song opens normally, shifting tempo and whatnot, suddenly giving way to an unnerving horror interlude of samples and finally attacks all-on with a 2 minute blast beat filled frenzy.

oh, by the way, just do not let the amazing cover art of the illustrious alexander l. brown go unnoticed. seven angels with dark faces in a circle in front of a heptagonal form.

as again, thank you france.

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