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Lamentari > Ex Umbra in Lucem > Reviews > dhpito
Lamentari - Ex Umbra in Lucem

Symphonic BM masterpiece - 90%

dhpito, June 9th, 2024

2024 has already been an insanely eventful year for symphonic black metal. Borknagar released the incredible “Fall”, Ihsahn’s self-titled was a brutally beautiful cinematic piece. Danish six-piece Lamentari’s debut album “Ex Umbra in Lucem” proves to be another stellar addition to the pantheon of great releases of this year. Intertwining the energy and darkness of extreme metal with the cinematic grandeur of influences such as Howard Shore and John Williams.

Seamlessly integrating symphonic elements into more extreme metal genres is undoubtedly a major challenge. In many albums, it sounds as if the orchestral releases are a completely separate endeavor from the “main” music, as if it doesn’t fit into the songs at all. This is far from the case in “Ex Umbra”, as proven by the second track, “Tenebrae” and its symphonious intro “Spiritus Noctis”. The orchestral elements add many, many layers into the track, complimenting Daniel Lønberg harsh vocals and Emil Holst Partsch and Michael Møller dark riffs. “Tragoedia in Domo Dei” (loosely translated as “Tragedy in the House of God”) keeps with the sinister sound, also sprinkling in more technical sections at the start and a beautifully composed bass and classical guitar solo towards the middle.

This contrast between the orchestras and dark instrumentals, the soft choirs and harsh vocals is insanely well developed. “Intra Muros Mentis” and “Appugno”, fourth and fifth tracks respectively are both relentless, with the former starting out with a flying, face-melting sweep section, deepened by a cascading string section and imposing brass, opting for some more melodic bits, fitting many solos in its around 5 minute duration. “Appugno” takes a more no-nonsense approach, focussing more on the extreme elements, but still not losing the orchestral hits and solos – basically a modern Emperor.

“Dolorum Memoria” would be the album’s closest track to a ballad, even if it’s far from that. Already tugging on the heartstring of listeners with a stunning flamenco-ish guitar section at the start, quickly turning sinister, bone chilling whispers become gracefully wrapped up by an unsettlingly alluring choir. Energy quickly picks up, with aggressive cymbal hits dotting every beat, tried and true tremolo riffs accompanying even more amazing solos. The rest follows in this rollercoaster of emotions, going from beautiful to brutal. If “Spiritus Noctis” (“Nocturnal Spirit”) started off the first track, it would be fitting for “Spiritus Diurnus” (“Spirit of the Day”) to start off the last song – the cathartic “Arcanum Ignis Animae”. Its exuding heaviness, paired with the sinking feeling of deep despair it is able to create, while still being so incredibly epic gives it this classical, Tchaikovsky-like quality to it; something only achieved with great compositions. Surely, one of the high points of this album that is filled to the brim with them.

Concluding, to all black metal fans, you’ll definitely be lamenting if you don’t check out this amazing album. The balance between the intricate and nuanced orchestral compositions, perfectly complementing all of the brutality and darkness brought on by more traditionally extreme elements is perfect, absolutely beautiful. If power black metal was a thing, this would be it. All in all, Lamentari brings to the table 40 minutes of musical perfection, an album that is as beautiful and complex as it is sinister and dark.

Extracted from my review on MetalRules