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A very minimal raw BM debut with an ominous brooding mystique - 70%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, February 22nd, 2021

A very minimal raw black metal work, "Silencioso Culto do Abismo" is the debut full-length from underground Portuguese BM horde Via Sinistra. It might not compare to grander, more epic productions that have more polished musicianship and production - what you hear is what these travellers on their own left-hand path have poured out from their own hearts and souls, with the most essential instruments and equipment needed for what they're aiming for. And with the little they have, Via Sinistra have created an album with a dread atmosphere and disturbing, menacing moods. Each song on the album is crafted carefully - check out the spidery intro to "Vislumbre Intemporal" and tell me the thin melody, the tone and the off-key moments don't cause the temperatures around you to plunge and the air to go frosty - and each song adds to the black brooding mystique of the recording and the band itself.

The very sparse raw BM style and production mean that songs have to work hard to catch and maintain listeners' attention, and they do this by emphasising riff, solo guitar melodies and guitar tone. Black Sabbath fans will note Via Sinistra's borrowing (erm) the riff from "Sweet Leaf" on middle track "Carrasco", turning it into the rhythm base from which poisonous lead guitar tunes rise like foetid swamp air. For songs in the raw BM genre, the tracks are not fast at all with "Carrasco" being very slow and drawing out all the doooom poison from the Sabbath riff. Much black space within the songs is revealed which draws in this listener's attention. There are moments in the songs - the last track is a good example - where the music takes on an even more introspective air and becomes experimental in tone or mood. One instrument, often lead guitar but (on parts of the last track) bass guitar, may dominate the music.

For music that is quite thin and not very layered, the vocals are a huge contrast: thick and raspy, more chanted than sung, and occasionally coming across like a bunch of drunken demons on pub crawl, in search of that corrosive liquid that will shrivel them up and turn them into evil sulphurous vapour, all the better to possess unwary human victims wandering in dark forests or city alley ways late at night. The voices seem crude against the music but that's the whole point of their juxtaposition: the voices sound that much more rough, and the music seems to be thinner to the point where it becomes unearthly, almost ethereal.

The album ends as mysteriously as it begins, quietly and softly, leaving darkness and an ominous feeling, that its demons will not be long gone but will return soon, in its wake. This work may be very modest in its musical presentation but it sure does leave a long-lasting hypnotic impression, while other bands' efforts that may be more epic and huge in musical scale and technical polish end up being quickly forgotten. The album has been picked up by Sol / Deviant Records for CD release so other people must have noted this recording's dark hypnotic attraction.