filli-nigrantiumThe album title may seem a bit naff at first sight but I’m glad to say this band is anything but. Black metal meets Accept with a punk ethic and lord only knows what else these guys have in store lurking in the depths. With a bit of S&M that glosses the band’s image, the whole package sounds more like it might have come from Leipzig than Lisbon. But these Portuguese necro-metallers care little for boundaries, national or otherwise. I would venture to say they are yet another band helping to build the country’s credibility on the extreme metal scene. Except that Filii Nigrantium Infernalium, or F.N.I., are avowed anarchic Satanists. So much so that they appear not so enamoured with some elements of the black metal underground, expressing their concerns on one forum I saw about the ‘fascist / Nazi tumour that has been taking on the scene’.

I’m not sure what’s particularly new about that. But they’re presumably talking about the southern European nationalism that has been seeping out of the cracks of various economies and which is ever a sad side effect of rising unemployment and fiscal hardship. So much so that F.N.I. appears to have taken a considerable break. Pornokrates is the first full-length release since 2005 and you can almost hear band members led by vocalist and guitarist Belathauser (imagine someone trying to strangle Udo Dirkschneider and that’s roughly where his vocal talents sit), bursting to get out.

Such is the fusion of styles here it’s at times difficult to tell if this is a traditional metal band which has overdosed on ‘Fast as a Shark’ with black influences or vice-versa. Obviously the albums covers give the game away a little and the name (‘infernal black children’) which would be an impossible mouthful for any boozed-up trad-metal fan but a walk in the park for the trvly kvlt. Even in their earliest incarnations F.N.I. incorporated punk, metal and even some doom influences into their music and have clearly never been happy walking anywhere but their own path. For me the 80s punk mentality is the thing that begins to shine though and set these guys apart. It increasingly comes across as the album unfolds. There is a loose, garage-days approach to the sound that belies the obvious competence of the band and the mission they’re on. As with the band’s satanic freedom doctrine, Pornokrates also goes where it pleases. I mean, Ecuménica Matança por Jesus could easily have been a duet with Gamma Ray before the following track Materia Negra descends into black swirling madness.

Pornokrates is a record that is overturning subgenres of metal as much as their political and monastic bugbears. A depraved mish-mash that holds together by sheer force of will alone. But what I really like about F.N.I. is the attitude they bring that goes above and beyond the music. It oozes out of this record. Not just the usual ‘dark n evil’ stuff. F.N.I. are some extremely pissed off blokes that are directing their venom at religion and ignorance through their music in a way that is clearly unlocking some creative force. Unleashing real anger at messed-up politics rather than just flipping it off as metal fans often tend to do. And it’s obviously its all done while covered in studs and the trappings of sexual turpitude. The more I listen to this record the more I like this band and the more I hear about the band the more I like this music. I’d call it a virtuous circle but perhaps the depraved circle might be a better description.

(8/10 Reverend Darkstanley)