THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN REMOVED ON A POINT OF PRINCIPAL AS CREPUSCULO NEGRO SWINDLED ME OUT OF MONEY. I ORDERED ITEMS FROM THEIR WEBSTORE IN GOOD FAITH BUT THEY TOOK MY CASH, SENT ME NOTHING AND THEN IGNORED ALL MY EMAILS. MAKE YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT ON SUCH PATHETIC BEHAVIOUR. NEEDLESS TO SAY, I AM NOT GOING TO PROMOTE INDIVIDUALS WHO STEAL FROM ME.
Posts Tagged ‘The Ajna Offensive’
I don’t think it’s possible to go any deeper into the underground than this. ‘Urkaos’ is the definitive work of Swedish duo Karl Hieronymus Emil Lundin and Karl Axel Mikael Mårtensson, who wield a multitude of instruments – including harpsichord, accordion, bells, boneflute, cellos and cithers (as well as all the usual suspects) – to conjure some of the eeriest, most ethereal Black Metal you’ll ever encounter.
A sprawling work of incredible depth, vision and discipline, the album has been unleashed in glorious double vinyl format boasting all the original artwork, a cool DIY booklet (black and white, stapled together) and a CD copy of the music, all done with the assistance of The Ajna Offensive but retaining the feel of an independent release. It’s a beautiful product to have and to hold; and also to listen to.
Truthfully, though, the listening experience can be demanding at times as the production is murky and lo-fi, with about as much polish as you’d find on a tramp’s vomit-encrusted slipper. It can be difficult to get your ears beyond the dull sound but, if you persevere, you will discover a band that has all the charm and originality of Urfaust, approaching Black Metal from some leftfield terrain and producing something both interesting and challenging.
I’ve had this album for two months now and still haven’t managed to get my head around it. Did I mention that it lasts for almost 80 minutes? Reverorum Ib Malacht seem to be obsessed by Latin scripts, religious content and such like (mostly delivering their sermons by means of Gregorian chant). But I certainly wouldn’t compare this in any way to Deathspell Omega or any other orthodox BM band I’m familiar with.
Even if it isn’t always brilliant, ‘Urkaos’ is just different on so many levels that it stands out from the pack. Approaching dark ambient at times, the darkness prevails throughout and the Swedes never come close to exiting the nether realms of the deepest, deepest underground. Thus, I’d categorise this as one of the least-commercial records you are ever likely to hear, rendering it a compulsive – if pricey – acquisition.
It’s amazing – five years after the event – how many commentators are claiming to have been blown away by Negative Plane’s 2006 debut, ‘Et In Saecula Saeculorum’. I don’t remember there being much of a fanfare around it at the time and I’d love to see the sales figures. It was an undoubtedly spectacular release – one of the finest Black Metal debuts of all time – but was it really that popular? I doubt it. Seems to me there are a lot of people jumping on the NP bandwagon.
The Americans are being championed as the saviours of BM and rarely have I witnessed such a torrential outburst of gushing praise as that which has greeted the arrival of their second full-length, ‘Stained Glass Revelations’. If the superlatives and hyperbole are to be believed, this is a more-than-mandatory release; one that reshapes and redefines what Black Metal is and what Black Metal can be. Considering that I loved ‘EISS’ and unable to avoid the hysteria that accompanied this latest release, it was difficult not to be predisposed towards giving a glowing appraisal.
Put it this way: I really, really wanted ‘Stained Glass Revelations’ to deliver everything being promised. On the first few spins, I thought it was a pretty good / great CD but then, the more I listened, doubts started to emerge. Is it really that good? We are served a generous helping (over an hour’s worth) of modern, technical Black Metal. If you can imagine a BM version of Pestilence or Atheist, you won’t be too far away from what we have here. Blackened technical DM, maybe. It’s good but, let’s be honest, it’s not great.
For me, this is a classic case of the world wanting a saviour too much. You know when the villagers see a sign in the barley that the Messiah is on his way and they gather on the footbridge to welcome him and then an ordinary bloke comes walking around the corner? And he’s heralded as a hero? But he was just in the right place at the right time…
The production on this is absolutely perfect and, for the most part, the music is good. But it’s not as brilliant as I expected and I can’t get too excited by an album that at times sounds like a cross between Sadus, Muse and The Beach Boys. Is it even Black Metal? I’m not so sure. In fact, I don’t think it is. Sorry, but ‘SGR’ doesn’t live up to the hype.
While I laud the leftfield leanings and applaud the fact that Negative Plane are bold enough to bring something fresh to a stale table, ‘Stained Glass Revelations’ isn’t as invigorating as it is ground-breaking. In fact, it’s a regression from its predecessor, straying so far from the template at times that it becomes very, very questionable. Certainly not an album for people who only like Black Metal. Pity.