Reviewed: January 2022
Released: 2021, Seance Records
Reviewer: Svetlana Likhacheva
Black metal one-piece KRVNA proudly presents highly anticipated debut album Sempinfernus via SEANCE RECORDS, on CD and cassette tape formats. Earlier this year, in the beginning of autumn to be precise, the band released its debut demo, Long Forgotten Relic. And with merely two tracks it has attracted a fair piece of attention in the black metal community.
Whereas the Long Forgotten Relic demo thematically explored mythos about vampires from the ancient world to Biblical times and the black forests and castles of Balkan and Carpathian incarnations of Striga (creatures similar to vampires), Sempinfernus focuses on the timeless and insidious nature of the vampire and its expansion in mythos, superstitions, witchcraft and tales throughout history. As the creators claim themselves, the album is inspired by the folk stories and legends passed down through their family and countless generations.
The whole album can be described as a heavy yet mystical and elegant mix of sound. There are only five tracks, yet each of them provides a full, at least five-minute creepy forest journey. All tracks are thoroughly composed and performed with a fair piece of mastery. Also I would like to highlight the special attention KRVNA paid to instrumentals in this record. The focus on the melody is crystal clear, especially when you know that there are no vocals in some tracks at all.
Speaking about my personal favourites from the record, I would mention The Triumph Of The Flesh Over The Spirit. It is without vocals – only the beauty of interesting and dark guitar riff with strong rhythm section support. It has an anxious and haunting general mood, but the sound simultaneously feels relaxing.
Also, despite seeing many negative thoughts on the final track, The Eve Of Eternal Sunset, I was truly a pleasure listening to it. It has some decent variety of sounds, switching between slower, hypnotic guitar chords and typical blast beats with some tremolo picked guitars. It’s got an epic and doomy vibe.
Overall, Sempinfernus is a good and well-made effort, and I would recommend getting to know it. Although at the same time I would like to share some drawbacks that spoiled my impression a bit. As often happens with young black metal bands, KRVNA, to my mind, lacks something standing out. Their vision, of course, is only their own and unique, but the record has nothing new in its sound. Another thing is that the band tried to create songs with vocals, but those definitely aren’t their strong side. Having a minority of tracks without vocals when they feel necessary only in terms of story looks like KRVNA just tried to create “normal” songs while they could experiment a bit more and, maybe, create a fully instrumental record.