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Metempsychosis is an ancient religious belief, common to many peoples and civilizations. Also called « transmigration of souls », it means the movement of a deceased person’s spirit to another life form, according to an infinite variety of worship. And, by the way, it’s also Italian band Nox Illunis’s chosen concept to develop their newest album! So expect everything!
And that’s pretty much what we receive. The band from Treviso offers indeed a mystifying and heterogeneous atmospheric black metal, with many stylistic elements from diverse backgrounds. Divided into six « spheres » and an epilogue, Metempsychosis handpicks influences from psychedelic rock, industrial and classical music through typical melodic black metal songs. Fortunately, this amalgam otherwise indigestible is here done with talent.
But this quartet is proposing us a real maelstrom, which does not hesitate to multiply experiments, unexpected sound samples (Gregorian chant on Del Risveglio Dal Sonno; a long monologue in Italian Del Distruttore; opera Della Caduta) and softer distortion-free passages. Everything seems designed to destabilize the listener, forbidding him to enter into a comfort zone, without ever becoming cacophonous.
It’s impossible not to have a thought for Norway’s legendary band Emperor while listening to this album. Like their illustrious predecessors, Nox Illunis members seem allergic to linearity or ease. No songs are built on a single riff or based on a predictable structure. This exercise gives beautiful artistic results, but could also exhaust some impatient listeners.
Metempsychosis, without being a masterpiece like Ihsahn & friends’ classics, is a great discovery for anyone seeking a musical challenge that requires many careful listenings. Like great wine, this record must be tasted in small doses and will fully reveal itself only after several sips. Does it have an effect on karma? Well, only the reincarnated will know! 7/10
Originally written for Métal Obscur.