Reviewed: October 2020
Released: September 18th 2020, Apocalyptic Witchcraft
Reviewer: Annalisa Orlando
These black metallers from the fens of East Anglia, a flat nothingness that makes up much of the surrounding area native to The Infernal Sea, bring a nuanced and groove-rifting record of British black betal. Energetically “black-n-roll”, they use their savage riffage to create something truly diabolical, bringing the listener to the medieval plague-age (topical, love it.) bounding with grim glee from the dark nature of the Knights Templar crusades, to the horrors men inflicted on each other as a result.
The band comment:
“It is with great honour that we continue to forge our alliance with Apocalyptic Witchcraft, having worked with them closely over the past few years, we are keen to strengthen our working relationship, they understand what fuels The Infernal Sea, allowing us the creative freedom we require to push the boundaries of our compositions. After a decade of aggression, we welcome the next chapter in our blackened career.”
“The world we once knew has drastically changed, we live in fear of the unknown. As proclaimed Heralds of the plague, we warned of the oncoming darkness, a coincidence perhaps or strangely prophetic? The global pandemic is devastating society and with it the music industry is on its knees. We too have suffered delays at the hands of Covid-19, but we rise from the turmoil to unleash our forthcoming album ‘Negotium Crucis’. This album has been challenging, but we conquered all, delivering our strongest and most diverse work to date. Hail the darkness!”
Throughout its nine-song runtime, The Infernal Sea’s unique take on black metal flirts with an almost rock and roll feel, which I was more than tickled by. Peppering surprisingly accurate historical tidbits, the band’s sense of showmanship is clear throughout, demonstrating that they don’t put on just a fun show, complete with masks and pyrotechnics, but can deliver a positively theatrical album.
Whimsy aside, the energy and heaviness throughout the record simply do not let up. The band can’t seem to stop showcasing their versatility, being able to mix grooved riffs which cut through the heavy, bleak atmosphere like fireworks on a cold winter night. Make no mistake, there is a lot of darkness on this record. “Destruction Of Shum” is icy and raw, with aggressive drumming and howling industrial guitars. Wasting no time it moves into the avalanche of “Way of the Wolf” which holds a powerful melody at the centre of its aggressive exterior. “God Wills It” is vast and atmospheric, with a tomb-like inevitability of slow, purposeful riffs, and its final plunge into silence is laden with dread. “Fields Of The Burned” continues with a haunting, lethargic soundscape, the tortured cries echoing throughout doing plenty to create a waking nightmare. They really hit the terrifying medieval nail on the head with this one, a song about the Siege of Montségur in 1244 where 210 Perfecti and unrepentant credentes were burned alive on bonfires, voluntarily, I might add, as a final act of martyrdom following the surrender of the castle. Delightful. The title track “Negotium Crucis” stands proudly, with some echoes of traditional Norwegian black metal.
This album is a thrilling, bone-chilling foray into the darkness of history, with some devilishly delicious musical compendium. Spend some time exploring these if you want to fully appreciate how skilfully the historical horrors have been translated into black metal. Get ready to be unnerved and entertained.