simulacroSardinia doesn’t immediately strike me as a natural hot-bed for black metal so much as a place my mother-in-law might go for a summer break. Maybe such preconceptions are enough to drive the kind of seething hatred clearly present on this release. Or maybe it’s just those obnoxious tourists. But whatever inspired Simulacro’s emotional torrent would certainly keep the old lady away from the island if only she knew. The band have taken their time pinning down a distribution deal since the initial self-released demo in late 2010 and it’s difficult to read exactly what’s been going on. But it’s perhaps explained by the fact that at least one of the members, Anamnesi, has his own busy solo project on the go. He’s also in another band Cold Empire with bassist WLKN. Either way, there is clearly some depth of experience among the members of the band and it shows from the outset.

Fall Of The Last Idol veers from huge sky-scraping crescendos that would serve as a good example to many other bands. Then to slower, ominously diverting passages that aim to fulfil the remit of the band – to augur the dawn of a new age of ancestral truth. It’s an album adept at lulling you down into a plodding, grinding rhythm before building into those sinew-tearing guitar peaks. The first track begins by heading straight into one of the more progressive arrangements. Trudging drums and guitars, what sounds like a Franciscan choir, and then into a mid-paced black thrash before the riff finally sets in. The production is slightly rough around the edges but since when has that been a barrier to entry into the black metal market. That said, there are a number of times when things suddenly align suggesting, as if we didn’t know, that this is the product of a decent bunch of musicians, not cobbled together in your best mate’s basement flat.

A few curses shrieked towards the heavens and we’re into the real meat of the album with the second track The Temple of Hypocrisy, another building intro and some classic black metal. Some surprises and breaks keep the slower parts interesting but the real killing blow comes when the core sound is unleashed and it sounds as good as anything in the field. Such intensity works well and even better when it’s woven with the swaying atmospherics on tracks like Temple or Burning Ruins Of Submission.

Clearly on some occult-fuelled mission the band’s debut ticks plenty of boxes and keeps things interesting without breaking the mould. This is hardly ripping up the old formulas and starting again. The stop and start of the slower parts may put off some into the more ferocious side of black and blackened thrash metal. But it makes a blood-curdling mess of a few existing black metal recipes and the final track drives the point home masterfully with a fist-clenched attack – finishing with the repeated refrain ‘destroy, destroy forever’. A point well-made and who could disagree. Only the tourists, I suspect.

(7.5/10 Reverend Darkstanley)