Released: 2013, Vox Inferni Press
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Lamia Culta are a occult Black Metal outfit who formed in 2004 whose sound focuses upon atmospheric compositions of Neo Classical beauty shrouded in dark ambient and majestic passages. Whilst their earlier endeavours fitted the bill for a female fronted symphonic metal band, Fosco Culto began working solo on the follow up with a vision of refining everything with a more emotional and darker package.
Without deliberation, the record offers up exactly what it states, with a chanting led intro of ‘Retap Retson’ which foreshadows the organ led symphony of ‘Into The Night’. Whilst retaining a strong bleak sounding backbone, the track disperses into a harp led fragility that gives the record a strong sense of allure.
However, it’s not until the third track ‘Dwelling in the Darkness’ where the blurry vague images sharpen as the female vocals and bleak metal shrieks intercept into the delicate melodies. The juxtaposition of these two vocal forces corrode surprisingly well within the production and compliment each other flawlessly.
The album’s title track ‘A Woman Scarred’ carries these aforementioned qualities forward as the classical dynamics serve as an undercurrent to this theatrical scale piece of music that builds upon a climactic variation of sounds.
The catastrophic wake of ’She Wolf’ hooks you in and makes this one the records highest points. The gruelling vocals and classical tapestries really capture everything this band are about and is definitely a good starting point for anyone to soak up if they haven’t heard of the band before. The dense sounding guitar riffs are also a welcomed addition that add an extra layer of intensity to the atmosphere.
Meanwhile, ‘Gloomy Sunday’ unravels with a stronger focus towards the female vocals and drifts effortlessly by like a shadow cast from dark clouds above.
Closing off with, ‘There I Shall Dwell’ the acoustic intro sweeps across the infernal shrieks and opaque instrumentation that scales throughout, attaining a visual led crescendo where desolation prevails.
Overall, this was an interesting spin from a style that is by no means new to the world of metal. Many bands have tried and tested this approach to vocal transitioning to an extensive degree. However, never before have I known it to sound so rich and entrancing in its manifestation than what is divulged on this record. The sheer level of beauty and clashes between dark and light not only burn bright but can also plunge you into an abyss of despair making this both an emotive and cinematic experience. The record does lose some momentum at certain junctures with some needless instrumentals thrown in, which seem to serve as nothing more than padding the record out for the purpose of attaining the length of a whole album.
This is definitely not music for the faint hearted, but for those looking to drench their ears in something darker with both depth and scope and in that regard listeners will not be disappointed with what this album has to offer.
Review by Ben Spencer