Metal Scrap Records, 01.03.18
Four years have passed since previous full lengths from Hortus Animae. Secular Music (2014) was briefly presented as an Impression in Norwegian only.
I was going to return with a more comprehensive report, but alas, that never happened. In the mean time, the band has dropped a compilation and an EP.
As the Italian band has released its first concert recording, taped in Slovakia, the rating system from Impressions again feels adequate.
The live album marks the 20th anniversary of the band's first and only demo, Abode For Spirit And Flesh.
Hortus Animae, meaning the Garden of the Soul in Latin, has chosen to name this live-ceremony Piove Sangue, which translates to “It's Raining Blood”. Obviously named after well-known Raining Blood, the cover song the band chooses to round off with. The choice might not seem surprising, as the Slayer song is probably the cover song that has finished off most metal gigs through history. For those familiar with Hortus Animae, the selection still might seem somewhat strange.
Hortus Animae namely plays a kind of intricate, avant-garde, progressive, symfo-gothic black/doom that often gives a sensation of conceptual storytelling. The band visits so many aspects of said genres in their mixture that naming specific references would easily become misleading. The style of the band, however, seems fairly incompatible with raw and angered thrash in the veins of Slayer. The characteristic style of the band creates a singular mood. So too live. Even without a particularly occult approach, a relatively theatrical seance is created.
The set list on any band's concerts will always be subject to discussion. Especially on live albums, and particularly when a band releases its first such a couple of decades into the career. The material on Piove Sangue works quite well, although I would have chosen differently myself. That they choose to incorporate the new song There's No Sanctuary from the EP by the same name (dropped in 2016) is understandable. Though I'm strictly speaking a bit disappointed, considering it's the only new song from the Italians since the previous album. And it's not all that much to write home about.
Otherwise, the somewhat anonymous Chamber of Endless Nightmares from Secular Music, could have been replaced. Doomsday from the same album works a bit better. Other than that, the relatively short concert opens with the opening track from The Blow of Furious Winds..., and we're served a medley with three songs from the first two releases.
Nearing the end, Volker "Freddy" Fredrich from German Necronomicon, whom they toured with following the release of the EP, to thrash the concert venue on the aforementioned ever-energetic classic Raining Blood.
I like the band and I like this live album. Hence the rating. It is nonetheless not mandatory, and the uninitiated are first and foremost recommended to check out the 2005 album The Blow of Furious Winds....
40 minutes long Piove Sangue - Live In Banská Bystrica, was released in collaboration with BlackHeavens Music, Aesthetic Death, Azermedoth Records and M.A.S.D. Records.
PS: In May, the band released yet another live document. Live at Velvet - April the 14th, 2001 consists of four songs taken from the first three full-lengths. Unfortunately, this is marred by scruffy (but raw) sound with a distinct touch of bootleg.
The press release presents a few thoughts on how parts of the genre have lost their touch by letting go of intensity, vitrol, passion and misanthropy, in favour of technique and progression.
The point, of course, is to put extra focus on Enoid being old school and real, true to the bone, with proper, fervently immersion.
Fair enough. I'll buy that. Enoid is a one-man army consisting of Bornyhake (Borgne, Manii et al.). Bornyhake has heard his share of Darkthrone, Gorgoroth and Taake, and presents his own vision with dogged determination. He really means it, and he puts his soul into it. He's not the saviour of the genre. At least not alone. As a blood cell in a larger bloodstream, however, he is part of the flow, the blood circulatory system, which keeps the black underground alive.
This compilation disc contains Enoid's first two albums, Livssyklus (Life cycle, 2005 - 7 Songs, 32 Minutes) and Dødssyklus (Death Cycle, 2006 - 6 Songs, 30 Minutes). The music has been remastered, and given a new wrapping, containing a total playing time of just past the hour.
The sound differs slightly on the two albums, but both are cold and warlike in their blistering, merciless grasp for the listener's throat. “There's no melody ... to be found here, only a ferocious assault upon the human race”, the press letter states. This, for sure, ain't melodic music, but to hear, one needs only to listen. For even the wind has its tune. Sharp barbed wire sings like the sledgehammer strike at the anvil, leaving melody lines of arrogant elitist pride and contempt.
The song material measures up. The sound is rough and necrotic. The performance is passionate. Livssyklus & Dodssyklus can therefore be recommended to die-hard necro black-metallers that doesn't already have these in the collection. Rating: 4+
In September 2015, the duo released their first demo under the new moniker, Omniscient Veil.
Since then, drummer Swartadauþaz has been replaced with Swedish Dimman, from said Grá. Niðafjöll still takes care of vocals and strings.
The band's music clearly comes more to its own on a full length. The almost 40 minutes long album, has an evocative effect that hypnotises the listener and drags him into deep waters, much like the Neck/Nix.
Veiled plays a form of doomy, atmospheric black metal, but don't believe the music to be monotonous for that reason. Repetitions admittedly occur frequently, but mainly to keep the hypnotic effect from waning. The riffs have a dark, resounding and grim drive that prevents a velvety feeling of coma from taking over.
The album has an astral feel, but the ethereal vibes aren't just neutral. The song Portal in particular, offer highly dissonant inhospitality. The following few songs, however, are more dreamy and soaring, before Black Celestial Orbs I calmly flows into peculiar, somewhat nerve-racking progressive waters. With Black Celestial Orbs II, the album is brought ashore through acoustic tones and nature samples.
Veiled succeeds at creating a distinctive universe with Black Celestial Orbs, and I willingly get carried away.
Time and time again. Rating: 4+