Corpus Diavolis "Atra Lumen"
I am reliably informed by more than one source that this is "post-millennial, Luciferian orthodox black metal". I have no idea what that means as I never really take too much time to reflect on what sub-genre of an already existing sub-genre the current opus I am listening to falls under. For the purposes of this review this is simply a black metal record.
That isn't to say that this is all that there is to "Atra Lumen". There's also some decidedly death metal moments floating around on here along with some doom laden riffs to boot. For all it's atonal chords, "Atra Lumen" has some real bite to it also. Yes, there's tremolo galore on here (and superbly done too) but this plays like a ritual all in itself, just as one incantation seems to be taking the centre stage something else seeps in out of the ether to take the ceremony off in an even darker direction.
Listen closely and you'll hear stabs of symphony and choral moments also but overall the album strikes me as a clever balance of the grim, cold frostiness of most second wave BM with an almost Hellenic hue throughout. The warmth that sits beneath the surface is a horrible cloying warmth though and listeners should seek no comfort in it.
Special mention has to go to vocalist Daemonicreator whose hate-filled, spat lyrical style guides you superbly through the ritualistic enactment played out over these eight tracks. As the tempo changes and shifts numerous times his vocals are the consistent force that pulls all the great atmosphere of the album together. Ranging from chants through to spoken word there's no real "vocals" going on as such, instead it sounds like some horrific fable or story being told.
The album has strong production yet this doesn't ever stifle the grimness or menace present as "Atra Lumen" continually builds into a real demonic prescence track by track. Indeed there is an ugliness to proceedings throughout, despite the great production job. There is still a feel that the edges of structures are scored with claw marks or drip some sticky substance that stains horribly.
What really strikes this listener is the absolute authenticity of this record. All this imposing and oppressive atmosphere is intended and delivered with some quality song writing and playing. If you must file this record away under something other than just simple BM add it alongside the likes of Cultes Des Ghoules and other such labyrinth like sounds of ritual ceremony and unholy sacrifice.
Versions available from here.