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Quality Black Metal - 94%

MikeyC, May 31st, 2008

It’s nice to see some black metal coming out of Italy, as I was convinced they were a death metal country (and they’re good at that, too). This is not just black metal – but this is good black metal, created by one woman known as Climaxia. This is probably more depressing than Xasthur-type depressive black metal.

The riffs here are quite sorrowful, for the most part, and contain a lot of melody. All the tracks contain excellent guitar parts, although Meditatio IV would take the proverbial cake in that regard. There are also some clean passages, that definitely convey the gloomy tone this album is portraying (the intro to III and the outro to IV, particularly the latter). Climaxia is one hell of a guitarist, and she knows exactly where to put melody, and when to go to a more brutal stance.

It is unknown who the bass player or the drummer is, but both of these instruments work well in this album. The toms on the drums are quite loud, which can be very off-putting on occasion, but it’s not a huge deal, considering the drums in general are excellent. The blasting works to full effect, too, and it doesn’t dominate over the other instruments. The bass guitar is perhaps even louder than the guitars, which is perfect, because the bassist can really play. They are not just following the guitar, and they handle the low-end to excellent effect. What helps is that even though the bass is loud, it still allows for everything else to be heard perfectly.

The vocalist is also a mystery, but he (or she) can belt out mournful rasps to high shrieks in a heartbeat, and thankfully they fit in with the theme very well. They are not low in the mix, which is pretty much the norm for depressive black metal, but they still portray a sense of sadness and longing, somehow. They are quite captivating.

The production is quite good, which helps in this case. This album would be much less enjoyable with a rawer sound, because it would not deliver the appropriate feelings. Even in their most brutal parts, you can still hear the sadness weaved throughout the music, which is a great indicator that looped ambience doesn’t always mean depressive. Apparently, Climaxia isolated herself for a while, then wrote this album, and if that’s true, then it shows. This album is top-notch black metal, and everyone should check it out. Fans of brutal and melodic black will enjoy this immensely.

Best track: Meditatio IV