Grima Morstua - Illustratio per Horribilem Obscuritatem
Drakkar
Black Metal
7 songs (40'32")
Release year: 2007
Drakkar
Reviewed by Alex

Some people, who are in the know on all things black metal, have been telling me that I have been seriously missing on Grima Morstua (Latin for grim death). What they have been saying, straightforwardly speaking, this band is the shit. Things can not possibly look any more cult with the band’s latest album, Grima Morstua hailing from Argentina, the lyrics a heady mixture of Spanish and English with the album title in Latin, the name of bandmembers unpronounceable pseudonyms, album cover a medieval ritualistic gravure.

The book of Illustratio per Horribilem Obscuritatem (kill me if I have to type this again) can be fully judged by it cover. Grima Morstua is playing the type of black metal which can qualify as both “religious” and nasty, this is how perhaps Deathspell Omega would sound early in its growth if it reared its head in early 90s and had its roots planted firmer in the then developing Norwegian underground. Grima Morstua does possess a rather mystical ritualistic quality, yet they combine it with raw sounding frank production and uncompromising attitude.

I could see how the people looking for transcendent material in their black metal could appreciate Grima Morstua. Pushed onward by the stubborn drumming, guitars roll over and speed pick in waves, creating the feeling of trance revering the dark forces. I found it to be the most effective where the opening “bulldozer” in Espectros de la Crucifixion and Venenum Sathani loses its breaks and plunges into faster moving relentless guitar flourishes.

Another effective weapon in Grima Morstua arsenal is its vocalist Serpienenev. His voice somehow combines growling and shrieking all in one, traveling the breadth of the extreme metal spectrum. Expansive, at times he totally loses his mind (Espectros de la Crucifixion) to plunge into total madness. Spoken in foreign tongue (not that you would be able to understand the lyrics anyway), he truly represents the central figure at the Black Mass with one single message – Obey.

With so many aspects going in Grima Morstua favor, I still failed to embrace the album as much as those who recommended it to me. First, it seemed that the band blew its main salvo early, my preferred tracks coming with the first pair of Refleja su Maldicion and Espectros de la Crucifixion. Then, I totally understand the need to sound raw, but the power of Grima Morstua mysticism is lost when the snare is much louder than the bass drum, double bass of Venenum Sathani coming off as faint distant rumble. However, finally, and most importantly, not that the songs here lack individuality, but they do not possess those simple yet effective Horna hooks which make listening to the music absolutely essential. Not that I am necessarily looking for some melodic character here, but I could join the experts in the praise if next tome from Grima Morstua adds catchiness to its songcraft. It is fine and dandy to begin and end with those church choirs, but the album would have been a ton more powerful if that spirit was woven seamlessly throughout.

Killing Songs :
Refleja su Maldicion, Espectros de la Crucifixion
Alex quoted 67 / 100
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