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Corpus Diavolis > Elixiria Ekstasis > Reviews > autothrall
Corpus Diavolis - Elixiria Ekstasis

I'll...drink to that?! - 82%

autothrall, June 11th, 2024
Written based on this version: 2024, CD, Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions (Digipak)

Adorned in what might be the most erotically diabolic cover artwork of the year, the fifth album from Corpus Diavolis offers another scorching on the more traditional side of European BM, never sounding quite so distinct as its avant-garde French countrymen, nor the Medieval stylings of other peers, but full-on Satanic, blasting black metal. The reliance is wholly on the sinister, ritualistic infusions, but that's not to say that this is some monotonous, overblown effort, it's meticulously plotted and padded out to offer enough variation that you'll enjoy exploring some of its longer tracks, a couple of which just scrape the 10 minute ceiling. I had already been impressed with the group's 2021 effort Apocatastase, and this one is ever more nasty sounding and effective.

That's not to say you'll come across much original, but the Frenchmen overwhelm you with components that keep the experience like a richly occult canvas that continues to sprawl out across a dungeon wall. Vocals shift in between genre rasps, snarls, tortured groans, and little passages of chanted choirs that hit at just the right time like the finale of opener "His Wine Be Death". The guitars possess the balance of tremolo picked, winding and sinister melodies, but also spiked up with little atmospherics, clean or dissonant and always conscious of expanding the sound to a higher level than just its basic rhythmic drive. The drumming is as savage as necessary for the style, charged up with lots of little fills or percussive fits that add even more of that ritual haze to the proceedings, and the bass is just present and plunky enough to fatten up the bombast, especially during the slower to mid-paced segments of the disc.

There's an advanced sense of depth and composition here in tunes like "Cyclopean Adoration" and "Menstruum Congressus" that transcends any superficial stab at the style, and if you're fond of black metal bands that go that extra mile, you'll easily find yourself lost in its orgiastic, serpentine, vaulted mysteries, like an entire forbidden night at some vile subterranean temple, caught to tape. That's not to say that it's always so strikingly memorable, but there's enough meat here musically and lyrically to appreciate and Corpus Diavolis makes for another consistent, competent and compelling pillar of its scene.