Reverorum ib Malacht - De Mysteriis Dom Christii
Ajna Offensive
Black metal
11 songs (01:11:27)
Release year: 2014
The Ajna Offensive
Reviewed by Charles
Takes a bit of nerve, as a Swedish black metal band, to call your album De Mysteriis Dom Christii. It’s like Reverorum ib Malacht are setting themselves up in direct counterpoint to Mayhem; they even see fit to describe their music as "Roman Catholic Black Metal". If God is on your side you can do that kind of thing. Anyway, as you might expect, this record is completely loopy. At times it is almost unlistenable- often wilfully shoddy- but the atmosphere it creates at times, Jesus Christ! (sorry...). I have so far avoided listening to it in the dark for fear of the psychological effect it could have (as a lifelong atheist and all). For sure, there still seems something profoundly unnatural about Christian black metal… sort of like making a steak out of fruit pastilles. But hell (sorry... ), I would take this kind of weirdness any day over the petit-bourgeois crap that is being foisted upon us as the future of black metal on my own particular island. Give me deluded and incongruous piety over the lame, Olde Englande sentimentality of raci-, sorry cryptofa-, sorry "heritage" black metal any day.

Where was I? Yeah, totally off-its-trolley. Some of the tracks, including a genuinely sinister-sounding introduction, are interludes comprised mainly of pretty incomprehensible priestly muttering; like an after-hours prayer session in one of those churches you want to steer clear of. When we get to the black metal itself, it gets odder still. I would say it’s pretty unique: not necessarily as a compliment, just that I can't imagine it ever occuring to a normal person to try and make music like this. The whole sound is just a bizarre mumble. Lots of distant synths, lots of incomprehensible falsetto warbling. Those of us on a more earthly plane of existence like to imagine that black metal should have guitars and riffs and stuff, but Reverorum know that such things are mere mortal preoccupations. Take VI, for example, which is just a slow, repetitive drum pattern accompanied by some shapeless bass guitar and completely tuneless vocals; towards the end a church choir comes in for a few seconds… as far as church music goes, this is some way from all that hand-clapping gospel stuff that makes it seem like religion might actually make people happy.

If I’m honest, it’s a little bit of a slog. It is well over an hour in length. But there are also bits that really work. IIX is the closest to recognisable black metal here; while there are virtually no audible guitar riffs, the juxtaposition of the breakneck drumming with these ghostly, slow-moving synth lines conjures something that is not quite of-this-world; I guess exactly the effect they are going for. X is another strange one, to put it mildly: the drums are basically the centrepiece, by far the loudest thing in the mix, but they are not playing a solo, just your standard double-kick accompaniment. All the other elements to the sound just sort of lurk in the background, creepy and indistinct. And that's the album: probably one of the strangest I’ve heard for a while.

Killing Songs :
IIX, II
Charles quoted 70 / 100
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