Released: 2006, Hydra Head Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Straddling the fine line between Darkthrone’s early raw, primitive stuff and the grandiosity of Emperor’s post-ANTHEMS TO THE WELKIN AT DUSK output, Swedish one-man band, Heresi, deliver a sturdy half hour of grimy but melodic black metal on PSALM II – INFUSCO IGNIS. What sets Heresi (okay, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Skamfer) apart from the rest of the one-man, I’m-kvlt-but-look-for-me-on-MySpace BM crowd is that he can actually play. Mixing up the slice-and-dice speed, hyperblasts and tremolo-picking archetypes, there are notable riffs, some mid-tempo, groovy passages and even slower, doom-like moments. Sure, the buzzsaw guitars and paint-peeling screams are all here but the point is, Skamfer goes for more than just connect-the-dots black metal and makes it interesting and totally listenable, as well. The production job is surprisingly good given the genre and typical lo-fi approach. This isn’t shit-can, two-track analogue but not slicker than a Vaseline orgy hosted by Dimmu Borgir, either. Stretching beyond conventions but, at the same time, not breaking well-established barriers, Heresi has crafted an excellent slice of old-school black metal with PSALM II – INFUSCO IGNIS.
While Skamfer’s vocals are pretty standard fare, his riffs are clearly the main draw of PSALM II – INFUSCO IGNIS. The first minute of “Liothe” comes across as your by-the-book black metal track but soon storms through with some truly groovy riffs. “Dionyssosinitiationen” boasts a dirge-like opening that crawls along at a painfully-slow pace before kicking into high gear and back again several times. The filthy thrash-meets-melodic death rhythms of “Prosairesis” are just as captivating and for pure, unadulterated black metal nastiness, the title track delivers in spades. Fast and jarring riffs pump through behind Skamfer’s screams and throaty growls while cymbal/snare-heavy drums crash around. Lyrically, the whole deal is penned in Swedish so I’m at a loss what Skamfer is going on about but he does sound furious and dedicated in his delivery, so I’m sure he isn’t singing about rainbows and kittens (the website states “Heresi is true misanthropic worship of darkness and death, with a fundamental spite and scorn for the harmless!”).
While there are various moments that go beyond what one might expect, getting on board with Heresi’s trip should be an easy one for any fan of old-school black metal. Some of the “clean” elements might throw off a few traditionalists but overall, PSALM II – INFUSCO IGNIS adheres to the main signposts of the genre. The fact that Skamfer is said to have spent a good deal of his life locked up in Swedish mental institutions should earn him extra “kvlt” points and with manifestations like “Hail the holy four pillars of uncreation: Sodomy, Abortion, Suicide and Cannibalism!” splashed across the band’s website, it’s a safe bet that he is “troo” enough for the black metal masses to embrace.
KILLER KUTS: “Liothe,” “Dionyssosinitiationen,” “Prosairesis”