So 1st thing I wondered here wanting to get a bit of historical background is what happened in 1557, leading to the album title? Hmm no real clues to enlightenment there, various fighting between countries, a new bible print, schools founded in England and the Colloquy of Worms convened, which is nowhere near as exciting as it sounds. A bit of further digging brings me to the page of the artist who designed the art of the band and obviously worked closely with them on representing their work correctly and in context and to quote briefly “The album has been divided into four tracks, to represent each of the elements in its reversed and negated form. We have been working closely with the occult author G. De Laval (Black Magic Evocations of The Shem Ha Mephorash, The Explicit Name of Lucifer, Sefer Yeroch Ruachot) to manifest his concept of the negated elements.” Yep my head started to spin reading further and there is a lesson to be learned here, sometimes it’s best to stick to the music rather than delve into the esoteric arts that a band have no doubt studied in great depth. If you want more on this I have included a link at the bottom of the review.
On safer ground we are in Sweden and with a group containing Malign and ex Ofermod members with vocal additions on each track by people from Malign, Hetroertzen, Embrace of Thorns and Fides Inversa presenting their 3rd full length album. Naturally you should expect pretty heady and complex stuff and that’s exactly what we get with 4 tracks averaging the ten minute mark each. ‘Riphyon – The Tree of Assiyah Putrescent’ is one of said titles to wrap your head around and is a mighty and dark lesson in blackness with eerie choral work, dramatic slow drumming and a massive slamming vocal doctrine full of wrath behind it leading into the full-bodied heft of the track. I guess if you had to draw parallels Rotting Christ would be a good one, it sounds like a mighty contract is being forged here and it’s dramatic and swaggering in its slow to mid paced pounding approach. If you buy the full die hard embossed 50 copy edition with this complete with a book written by G. De laval you can really immerse yourself into the magical spell-craft but even without it the atmosphere here is immense. When the players launch themselves into a speedy ascent taking things right off amid the guttural and dictatorial vocals it certainly hits the mark. It’s black metal that is more esoteric than orthodox as far as I am concerned and with tracks twisting and turning and really sprawling away it takes a fair few listens to chip away at everything going on within it. Backing choral chants make it all the more epic and it really feels like you are dipping into some arcane historical form of exploration within its depths.
Of course with so many vocalists involved (and don’t ask me who is on what) the tracks have even more dimensionality about them. The titles are all as convoluted as each other too and the sound of waves aptly takes us into ‘Phezur – Dissolving the Sea of Yetzirah’ another piece of biblical blackness. There’s some spiteful and thorny riff work here and the rasping and guttural vocals spit and gibber away with a red mist of madness about them sounding like a particularly potent conjuration is being destructively wrought. There’s a certain bounciness to the actual rhythm here and some big swaggering surges lolloping off and flailing away. There is time for it all to calm and it literally bubbles with a sound like someone blowing them, it’s odd but perhaps they could be trying to take a last breath before dissolving into the depths of the sea itself.
Even though there are only four tracks it would be folly to describe everything going on in each of them in detail and this is an album that really is worth discovering fully for yourself. That said the piano and melody of the last track makes it a fantastically evocative number. Mephorash have constructed more than a work of ‘black metal art’ here but a carefully detailed doctrine that’s masterfully complex and involving. Just check out that first number for yourself below and discover what mysteries await you!
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)