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Latin diu stultus nomina stupri - 92%

iamntbatman, December 6th, 2014

It would be difficult to imagine a scenario where a black metal band does more to sully their image before I ever even hear their music than Britain's Inconcessus Lux Lucis have done. For one, the band is from the UK, which ranks up there with New York City on my list of "locations that more often than not create really shitty black metal." Sure, there are great UKBM bands, but in the absence of any sort of truly cohesive scene, you're left with a bunch of me-too ultra occult mega-grim bands that sound like butt, some industrial-black/noise nonsense and a handful of pleasant foresty bands that bridge the gap between Cascadian black metal and that paganish Eastern European stuff. Second, the band has an absolutely miserable, stupid name. A really long mouthful of a tongue-twister, and it's pretentious Latin (or pseudo-Latin, I neither know nor care) to boot! Plus, before they were called "Whorethorn" which is pretty stupid to begin with, but they somehow chose an even worse name. To go along with their Deathspell Omega stopgap EP band name, they've got a super ridiculous Nuclear War-core album title that maybe is trying to emulate something Inquisition, The Ruins of Beverast or perhaps Blut aus Nord would name a release, but comes off just sounding silly. Add in "pile of bones and candles with an upward aiming camera" war metal band photo and a way over-the-top detailed band logo and basically you've got something that screams "AVOID!" at the top of its lungs as far as I'm concerned.

Well fuck me, then, because this band is actually really, really cool. They kind of remind me of Negative Plane, except with every little thing that band does that annoys me to no end replaced with something that's just way cooler. Stupid Latin Named Band play a rocking flavor of midpaced black metal that reminds me most of turn-of-the-century Darkthrone, but honestly is much, much better on average. For every ripping tune Darkthrone themselves penned in that era, they'd put some tired phoned-in Celtic Frost worship on either side of it, which always hampered the whole experience of albums like Ravishing Grimness and Plaguewielder, as much as I may champion them. There's also a sizeable chunk of Legions of Perkele-era Barathrum going on here, which is a band I'm honestly shocked and appalled hasn't directly influenced more music than it has. Malphas does his best Nocturno Culto impression, which is competent at the very least and savage and charismatic at best, though sometimes he gets a little bit lost in the mix, which is a real shame. The riffs are rocking, punky, sometimes heavy metal-laced groovy affairs, rarely doing anything that emanates wanky technicality or annoying progginess where riffs change too often to ever leave a lasting impact (as Negative Plane are so guilty of doing). Instead it's just fun, catchy riffery through and through.

The basslines are extremely fluid riff monsters, and play off the drumming perfectly. Being a two-piece, I get the feeling that the bulk of these songs were written during jam sessions with Malphas on drums and Baal riffing away on his bass, with guitar and vocal parts getting added later. The band just has a delicious, "two guys in a big empty room jamming" vibe that gives a solidly groovy rhythmic foundation to every song on the album, which prevents even the most dissonant parts from ever getting too far away from the simple mid-paced black metal that makes up the band's foundation. No matter how chromatic and ugly the guitar chords get, they're always locked to the rhythm section's old-school grooves, effectively putting a limiter on just how weird this band can ever get. And sometimes they're just miles and miles from weird: the first chunk of "Witch of the Forge" is basically old school heavy metal with hints of doom, which segues really nicely into the blackened Darkthronian gallop of the verse riff (there's even some proper heavy metal galloping bits during the bridge that are sure to get your head banging, unless you utterly lack a pulse).

That's not to say the songwriting is uniformly excellent. Actually, another way that that Stupid Latin Name Band have turned expectations on their heads is by front-loading the album with their least interesting tracks, and saving all the best material for last. As soon as the vaguely death metal-ish chug that opens "East of Eden" kicks in, you're in for a rollicking ride through hell for the remainder of the album. Depite the band's rather straight-to-the-point approach to riff writing, lead guitar playing, everything, really, it's on the final two really long tracks especially where the band shine, showing that even with really simple ingredients they can construct just plain fun yet epic, ritualistic odes to darkness and the occult and the Dark Lord without resorting to extended guitar freakouts or long organ solos or unnecessary time signature shifts or whatever. These songs especially have some really Barathrum-ish moments, even with parts where the guitars will drop entirely for some bass-and-drums sections that could have come straight out of "Last Day in Heaven" or "Dark Sorceress (Autumn Siege)." Malphas even lets out a warbly clean vocal line at one point in "Severed From Sephiroth" that's pure recent Darkthrone, though honestly he sounds a bit more put-together and, uh, rehearsed.

So, those of you who see the band's ludicrous name, over the top logo, mega-serious Satanic themes and think that they'll be some abstract Deathspell Omega clone or something are bound to be heinously disappointed by Disintegration: There's No Way I'm Going to Type Out the Rest of This Album Title. If your taste is more similar to mine and some fist-pumping, rocking, riffing, groovy mid-paced black metal sounds right up your alley, definitely give this a shot and try your best to ignore the incongruous trappings. The band's new EP is also pretty darn cool, too, so if you're not quite willing to give this hour-long riff monster a relatively blind shot, you could always start there instead. Definitely a surprise hit of 2014 for me, and this band is now a prominent figure on my radar.