Et In Saecula Saeculorum
posted on 2/2007 By:
What a truly great feeling it is to stumble across a record that perfectly fits the metal mood you currently find yourself in. And it’s even more rewarding when the band responsible is not only one you’ve never heard before, but one you’ve never heard of up until that moment. Such was the case when I recently happened upon Gainesville, Florida’s troupe of bedeviled deviants, Negative Plane. Based purely on the band’s name, I thought I was about to roll into a earful of 80’s styled hardcore/punk, but the second I laid eyes on the album cover, and the moment my face was impaled by the album’s first hymn, I knew damn well what the next fifty minutes of my life would entail - old school, eeeeeevil fuckin’ metal.
Et In Saecula Saeculorum incorporates aspects from so many of the bands I hold dear to my heart from the mid eighties, I think it’d actually be impossible for me not to like what’s being presented. The most obvious comparisons can be thrown towards early Celtic Frost and Venom, but there are a multitude of other classic bands twining their tendrils about this swine as well. For example, this album has that classic “recorded in a forbidden chapel in the pitch of night” feel that Possessed’s Seven Churches, or Slayer’s Hell Awaits had, with the prior band also bleeding through when the riffs choose to slice faster. And when this same, chambered production swallows singer/guitarist Nameless Void’s numerous, finely crafted leads and guitar licks, one cannot help but reminisce a bit about the Denner/Shermann days of Mercyful Fate (i.e., 1:30 into the fourth track, “Death Mass”). There are even moments when flourishes of Piledriver guitar tones bubble to the surface, especially during “The Chaos Before the Light” and “A Church in Ruin”. Throw in a healthy slug of A Blaze in the Northern Sky era Darkthrone, and you’ve got a formula that pretty much guarantees this record a spot in a lot of folks’ “heavy rotation” pile.
Negative Plane also manage to weave their own threads into the well-worn devil-metal fabric, which thankfully keeps Et In Saecula Saeculorum from sounding grossly derivative or hackneyed. Although most of the relatively lengthy tunes gallop at a mid-paced gate, there are tempo changes aplenty, including the occasional burst into pure black metal turmoil on a number of the songs. The band also show they’re unafraid to slow things to a doomish crawl with tunes such as “Unhallowed Ground” - a dark, ponderous number that plods along in a Dark Metal/Bethlehem fashion for a great share of its 10-minutes. Nameless Void’s obvious affinity for creepy organ finds its way onto much of the record as well, with the shortest track, “Trance of the Undead”, being performed on an actual church organ owned by onetime Morbid Angel drummer/vocalist, Mike Browning.
Truth be told, there’s really not much I can say negatively in regards to this record. At times, the cavernous production creates a cymbal crash so “clangy”, it distracts from the rest of what’s going on. And Nameless Void’s Cronos-with-a-lower-register styled vocals could use a little more variation and less echo effect, but that’s just me being nitpicky and overtly assholish. Apart from these small blemishes, Et In Saecula Saeculorum is certainly something I’d consider to be a deliciously deplorable listen.
If you like the idea of metal album that conjures wicked thoughts of robed fiends plunging cursed daggers into virgins as goats nervously bleat in the shadows, I’d advise you to get your fuckin’ wallets out…
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