Released: 2014, The Ajna Offensive
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Tales thick with myth legend and dank mystery are commonplace in black metal, but odder is the tale of Swedish outfit REVERORUM IB MALACHT. Originally operating as part of the fiendish “anti-cosmic” black metal community, the band released two demos in 2005 and 2006, both receiving great praise at the time. It was however in 2009 when things took a rather odd twist. Both members Lundin and Mikael converted to Catholicism, and soon after released their debut, Urkaos, as a two piece, which failed to live up to the promises of quality made by their earlier, more satanic work.
Despite the gagging sound the phrase conjures in many fans of the black arts, this Uppsala duo could not have pulled off what could be deemed as “Christian black metal” much better. Taking the funeral dirge, eerie atmospheres and dark mystery that surrounds the Catholic Church, here they present 11 tracks of black, dark ambient metal. Full of haunting choirs, confession-box vocals and stained glass windows that reflect evil noise. Akin to soundtracks to films such as The Devil Inside, the soundscapes are not carved from pre-founded devilry, but from looking at the dogma surrounding Christianity in a whole new dark way.
Track four, dubbed as “IV” by the official listing is a highlight whirlwind of double pedal drumming, blast beats swirled by keyboards and (un)holy choirs. It captures the essence of being consumed by gothic cathedrals in a way music has rarely done before. It has to be said though, although many metalheads love their churches, few would want to be stuck in one for so long, and this certainly is the record’s big downfall. 75 minutes is without a doubt in my opinion far too long for such a heavily ambient record, and by track seven it feels as if the record has consumed itself to the point of stagnation, and to be frank, boredom is likely to ensue.
Perfect as background music, okay to focus on, this is an album for few occasions and moods, but it is hard to deny that it is refreshing to hear REVERORUM IB MALACHT’S approach, and to hear it being better done that what we heard previously on Urkaos.
Review by Jarod Lawley