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Black Cilice > A Corpse, a Temple > Reviews > ImpureSoul
Black Cilice - A Corpse, a Temple

A Shroud of Distortion - 86%

ImpureSoul, April 13th, 2014

I wasn't sure what to make of Black Cilice’s A Corpse, a Temple—or any of their albums for that matter—for a long time. They’re a black metal band raw enough to embarrass just about any other band that attempts the same tone. Despite operating on sheer relentlessness, their lo-fi recorded-in-the-forest-during-satanic-blood-ritual production contains a floor-shaking low end while the high end assaults you almost from inside your skull. The opening blizzard of notes in the first track, Gate of Sulphur, rips into the listener, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere that perfectly captures the misanthropic beginnings of the black metal genre. I would almost describe Back Cilice’s sound as experimental noise, except for the fact that the razor-esque guitars are quite discernible and there is indeed a sense of progression in the tracks underneath the churning and swirling flow. Musically, ignoring the production and elements of noise and avant-garde, I’d have to compare the style of riffing here to early Burzum or Mayhem, except faster (think of the riffs in Funeral Fog).

The ferocity is what caught my attention, but the vocals are what glued me. I've heard the whole echo-howls countless times before, but most of the time it comes off as silly (I always pictured little kids screaming “wooooooooooo” while dressed up as Halloween ghosts), but here the vocals are so bizarre that I almost thought they were some sort of synth effect from the first listen. In the context of the music, it almost sounds like wind raging through a forest, siren wails and bellows coming from all directions. This style builds A Corpse, a Temple into something totally unique and haunted. Being that the voice is the only aspect of the music that isn't totally destructive in sound (as compared to the sand-paper guitars and pounding drums), I would cite them as an unexpected and bizarre source of beauty in the music, adding a surreal dimension to the whirling snowstorm of churning riffs and completely complementing the intense atmosphere.

Most importantly, Black Cilice is able to execute all of this sheer lo-fi worship without letting themselves fall victim to parody. The riffs are not lost, nor are they repetitive for the sole purpose of creating a backdrop of hiss that the black metal freaks crave. There are some excellent, memorable riffs hidden in every track, some of them whispering under the static, others flying out of the distortion shroud (like the opener for Gate of Sulphur). The pace is not monotonous by any means either—Among Dead Rats opens with slower, more open-spaced riffs that allow the vocals to come to the forefront and handle the initial weight of the song alone before breaking out into one of the best riffs on the album. Resurrection of Dead Curses makes good use of drum pattern shifts to alter the flow of the music, often reverting to ritualistic beats. The stop-start breaks in Night’s Veil really serve as emphasis marks on the power dynamic of the music, demonstrating that this band is not as one-note as the dime-a-dozen bands that crowd the “raw” scene.

A Corpse, a Temple is not easy to digest by any means, though it certainly is worth listening to if you’re any kind of fan of black metal, even if your first instinct is to throw off your headphones the minute the music cuts into you. Black Cilice works best in smaller doses during the right type of mood, but they are an incredibly effective black metal band if given a proper listen. They seem to be aware of this fact, since this album (their longest release to date) only clocks in at 33 minutes, which for me works perfectly, despite a bit of a lag during the track Blood to Murder. It’s about exactly the kind of music you’d want to hear from an enigma mystery band out of Portugal. Repeat listens are encouraged.

Recommended tracks: Resurrection of Dead Curses, Among Dead Rats.

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