Release DetailsLABEL Battle Kommand Records
RELEASED ON 2/6/2007
posted on 5/2007 By:
Even though it’s really not as new of a phenomenon as some seem to believe, the French metal scene has become a thriving melting pot for many diverse, talented bands over the past few years. Black metal has been the style that often receives the most attention, sometimes for good reason, and the long-in-planning debut album Verbia Daemonicus from Obscurus Advocam (featuring members of Temple Of Baal, Glorior Belli, and Wolfe) is an uncivil but almost regal exploration into French black metal that adds a variety of influences but still stays true to a cruel, passionate style.
The warmth that comes from this disc reminds me more of USBM bands, rather than those from Europe, most notably in the hulking, brooding method of delivery that trades in full throttle speed and cold nihilism for deeply nuanced coarseness. The title track is an understatedly outstanding track that begins with methodic, searing guitar riffs that unexpectedly seep into an almost jazzy form of groove with nearly 70’s-sounding, soulful leads appearing through the mire like a less-harsh Judas Iscariot. The interesting thing is how these different aspects came into play, as there is almost no telling just where these differing elements pop up exactly, they just seem to float into being with no real segue, which was a fresh way to integrate a new viewpoint. Nachtmystium comes to mind during the burning intro of “To The Bone”, with a smooth blend of razor-sharp tremolo leading into an almost traditional slower thrash rhythm while briefly returning to a swarm of humming guitars aligned with unhurried pacing. Infestuus’ vocals are firmly middle-ranged, sung in traditional rasp with a touch of tuneful melody, and not much change in pitch, relying more on the arrangements to bring differences to the songs.
Although Verbia Daemonicus only contains seven tracks, this is definitely not a lightweight teaser, for all the songs are rather lengthy with the shortest tune “Tale Of A Scorched Earth” lasting 3:43, and “Endarkenment” hitting the 8:29 mark. It doesn’t sound like a continuous piece of art, and each track is separate enough to stand alone as a good example of what the band offers. While not too overwrought conceptually, this isn’t one of those discs you toss into the player just to pass time, for it takes a bit of concentration, and isn’t a quick fix for casual listens. There’s a modern feel to the tones and the production is adequate, bringing both grime and swelling atmosphere to the table, making for a comfortably harsh listen when there is enough time to indulge the full experience.
It’s time the rest of the metal community caught up to what obsessive nerds among us have known for a while. France is a hotbed of varied, talented bands, and Obscurus Advocam is yet another example of some of the quality black metal lurking under the surface of the underground. Recommended, but ultimately not essential, it's still worth picking up if you have the budget to do so.
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