Sanctus Nex - Aurelia
ATMF
Black Metal
4 songs (38:09)
Release year: 2009
ATMF
Reviewed by Goat

English Black Metal with a heavy dose of misery, Sanctus Nex play a deep form of Black Metal with its roots in the darkest corners of Albion. A constant wave of bitterness is how I'd describe the band's sound, yet this isn't the wailing sorrow of a lone man out in the forests. Sanctus Nex have an urbanity and sophistication to their gnarly sound that speaks of industrial dehumanisation - hinted at with bursts of fuzziness that avoid Industrial Metal - and a desire to tear everything down, especially religious structure. Fine, hardly an original aim in the wider Black Metal genre, but there's a viciousness to Aurelia that bypasses Satanic clich├ęs and approaches Anaal Nathrakh territory; a calmer, less maniacally raging beast, but a beast nonetheless. Think of this as a working-class Blut Aus Nord, flailing at their chains rather than regarding them with cold, quizzical eyes - opening track Exordium Of The Apostate simply seethes beneath the surface, moving from a melodic, almost proggy opening towards Burzumic malevolence that isn't unleashed until the following tracks.

Eleven minutes long, In Pursuit Of Albion kicks off with growled hatred, building on the Burzumic trance set by the previous track before launching into blasting drums, sounding wonderfully organic; moving between mid-paced malice and light-speed hatred as a tidal wave of disgust builds - not released until the following Held In Reverse. This is where matters grow truly violent, bludgeoning blasts and voraciously twisting riffs launching at the opposition without mercy, strangely psychedelic bursts of sound appearing from nowhere to direct the assault. The album is brought to an end by the lengthy Genesis Reversion, continuing the angry theme with a slightly distracted air, going so far as dropping the rage altogether for moments before picking it up even more vengefully, the screaming vocals echoing into oblivion as the track and album suddenly finish.

Sadly Aurelia, as good as it is whilst it lasts, is the sort of album that you struggle to remember anything beyond a vague impression about afterwards, and as solid as it is fails to take that extra step so badly needed with Black Metal and become something vital. Good without being great, violent and compelling without becoming transcendental; keep an eye on Sanctus Nex, but don't despair if they pass you by.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Exordium Of The Apostate, Held In Reverse
Goat quoted 72 / 100
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