Aversio Humanitatis - Behold the Silent Dwellers
Debemur Morti Productions
Black Metal
6 songs (35:59)
Release year: 2020
Debemur Morti Productions
Reviewed by Goat

Sometimes you can tell the style and impact of an album from merely looking at its artwork, and this black and white mirrored cityscape does its job of heralding an ominous listening experience. The title reinforces that; tapping into a deeply primordial feeling in our lizard brains that suddenly alerts you to the nerve-wracking knowledge that you are being watched by... something. Spanish trio Aversio Humanitatis act neither as watcher nor watched on this, their second full-length, but rather as emissary between the two, informing the listener of said silent dwellers. And although it's never as terrifying as it hints, this is still an interesting listen for black metal fan(atic)s. Somewhere between modernity-hating technicalists Kriegsmaschine and occult philosophers Deathspell Omega, Aversio Humanitatis play a deep and broad black metal, galloping blasts and a spellbinding guitar tone on the dissonant riffing atop a cavernous production and deep bassy backing that envelops the listener in bleakness.

It's perhaps less expansive than it could be, which is both curse and blessing - blessing because it keeps the album tight and compact at just under 36 minutes in length. Yet it's a curse as it means that the band have less scope and space for experimentation that could push at the genre constraints a little more to create something more memorable as a whole. Even seasoned black metal fans will find it takes a few listens to distinguish these six tracks from each other, and none really give the listener a truly effective experience. Instead, each coldly rattles at you, opener The Weaver of Tendons proving itself a good start to the album with backing whirrs and drum technicality adding spice to the growled vocals and rise and fall of the guitars. A brief interlude based around distorted guitars heralds a slowing of tempo and increased dissonance before speeding up again, and it feels suitably intense, particularly with those ending grinding riffs. The ensuing slower, industrial-tinged The Presence in the Mist is a decent follow-up, building into a rushing, speedy violence before turning doomy at the end.

Next to those pieces, The Sculptor of Thoughts feels very traditionally black metal at first, moving from one scurrying riff to another, but slowing and expanding a little towards the end. Compared to the following The Wanderer of Abstract Paths which has a more vibrant Blut Aus Nord-esque vibe it's downright forgettable, and even then it's easy to see the band's stylistic playlist in full effect as they throw in dissonant riffs and some (admittedly impressive) drum wankery as if to distract you. The songwriting just isn't interesting enough overall to keep the material buoyant, which is a shame because there's plenty of moments to impress in these tracks, particularly the hints at psychedelia on Wanderer. Closing duo The Watcher in the Walls and The Scribe of Dust especially feel as if the band are repeating themselves despite a mild increase in quality in guitarwork that doesn't equate to compelling songs. A solid enough album with some tremendous playing, yet these silent watchers ultimately don't do enough to be as fearful as they should.

Killing Songs :
The Presence in the Mist, The Wanderer of Abstract Paths
Goat quoted 65 / 100
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