Decide for yourself how little this opening sidebar note has to do with the review. Skamfer, Swedish multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, the moving force behind one-man act Heresi says: “It is always the right time to do lots of drugs and die”. Having spent some time in Swedish mental institutions battling depression and abuse, Skamfer apparently did not have the smoothest sailing in life so far himself. Yet, let Sweden be blessed, where people come out of mental institutions to produce black metal records afterwards (Heresi, Silencer). On the other hand, in the fire at the 17th narco-rehab clinic in Moscow, Russia, this Friday night more than 45 female drug addicts were left to die. This is not the place to debate whether my former land treats its most sick, weak and confused in the most humane manner, but just think whether those ladies felt in agreement with Skamfer’s above statement as they were suffocating on deadly fumes inside of their barred cells.
The lyrics of Infusco Ignis are entirely in Swedish, so unless you understand this language you will have to visit the band’s site and read the Manifest, the vector inside Skamfer’s mind, if you are to grasp the message. Virulently anti-Christian and against deity worshipping of any kind, Heresi instead is a tribute to darkness and death, all wrapped up in one hateful misanthropic package.
Prior to becoming Heresi, Skamfer laid the foundation of the religious black metal collective Ondskapt, of which I heard nothing. Having also missed 2005 Psalm I, this reissue on Hydra Head is my first rendezvous with the man’s body of work. I can’t attest to the rest of it, but Infusco Ignis is certainly a foray into the black metal past, covering all basic tenets of the genre, while also trying to shape its current.
In a short span of 28 minutes Heresi covers a more straightforward Nachtmystium sans psychedelic wanderings (Liotte), hypnotizes with the Mayhemic blast and Deathspell Omega reverend feeling in Bevingad Och Forseld Med Horn, drives home the Norse melodies found in Enslaved (Frost) and Thyrfing (Dionyssosinitiationen), pays homage to Bathory’s blackened thrash slowly turning it into modern day Finnish filth which then decides to become melodic about half way in (Prosairesis). The final title track synthesizes this vile mix into one final blow. Shreds of melody lurking just beneath the raw sewage keep the listener mesmerized just when the ears should not be taking the pounding any longer. Not a hint of synth weakness, the record blasts along with a blistering tempo, the few slowdowns being the flesh eating savage section of Liotte and cymbal crushing Norse grime at the beginning of Dionyssosinitiationen.
Unlike Silencer where vocals are practically schizophrenic or Deathspell Omega where they are almost messianic, Skamfer remains true to the origins combining hollow shrieks and cavernous roaring bellows. Another interesting point of Heresi is its drum sound. Depending on the point of view, the bass is either low in the mix, or snare/tom hits are way overdriven with their sickly punch. Either way, the effect is of a non-stop explosion, where blastbeat and double bass techniques are indistinguishable.
Not the altogether mind-altering revelation or new measuring yardstick, Psalm II – Infusco Ignis enthralls and captivates, just like a good black evil metal record should. Apparently impressed with the content, Leviathan's Wrest contributed the cover art.
Killing Songs :
Liotte, Bevingad Och Forsedd Med Horn, Dionyssosinitiationen
|Alex quoted 79 / 100|
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