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An Irretrievable mess - 69%

we hope you die, September 22nd, 2022

Portuguese black metal stalwarts Mons Veneris deliver an endurance test of abrasively out of tune raw black metal in the finest tradition of Les Légions Noires on their latest offering ‘Inversados d’Um Abismo de Podridão’. Every aspect of this album is carefully designed to be out of place. From the clunky tempo changes taking a few measures for all instruments to correct themselves, to the poorly tuned guitars delivering bum notes and missed cues a little too frequently for comfort, to the pained vocals veering from pathetic moans to harsh screeches delivered via the way of terminal illness rather than aggression.

One almost has to admire the gall in Mons Veneris’ ability to not only deliver such an irretrievable mess, but to birth it in the most painful and achingly intolerable manner possible. This point goes even more for seasoned fans of raw black metal. The average listener, unaccustomed to Ildjarn or Vlad Tepes may find the forty minute cacophony across this album as so much formless noise, but will be untroubled in tuning it out as one would air conditioning or background chatter. But for alleged fans of this style, happily residing at the farther reaches of lo-fi black metal, this album presents a challenge.

Even at the most chaotic and apparently lawless end of extreme metal, there are still rules to consider, rules that often go unspoken until they are very much broken. We recognise where the usual signifiers should fall, and we recognise it all the more when we witness an artist so flagrantly ignoring them. Riffs that should pivot on meditative repetition are played so poorly, with one or tuther guitar tracks dropping out or delivering bum notes seemingly at random, totally breaking the spell of hateful ritual. Guitar melodies that look to introduce a sense of delicacy, inviting greater tension by way of contrast, are completely eviscerated by overwhelming ill-placed blast-beats that dominate the mix. Moments of grim reflection where the tempo slows and melodic throughlines seek minimalism are overwhelmed by surplus static, random note clusters, and overly zealous vocal histrionics, thus killing off any interlude in the thunderous barrage of noise that is ‘Inversados d’Um Abismo de Podridão’.

Texturally we’ve heard harsher vibrations. But the devil’s in the delivery. And Mons Veneris are able to impress with their ability to deliver such an extreme experience in 2022 that still recognisably clings to the tag of black metal. This is an album that warrants scrutiny as a state-of-the-nation-address rather than any obviously pleasing musical menagerie. It makes us sit back and consider what we want from all this negativity and demands to live at the very edge of sonic pleasantry. Scattered musical fragments exist across ‘Inversados d’Um Abismo de Podridão’, but they are so constantly recontextualized into the most uncomfortable experience possible that by the end one is left to consider if the appetite for overtly abrasive music might finally be sated. Any contemplative, misanthropic node of our being is left nonplussed by this venture, and if nothing else, we walk away from the listening with some telling questions to consider.

Orignally published at Hate Meditations