When I was offered to review this album, I wasn’t sure what to expect…..but it wasn’t this! The album is sung entirely in Latin and takes the form of a Requiem Mass, following the structure of Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D minor, with the band describing this as “noire concrête”.
“Requeim Aeternam” opens with electronic beeps and scratches that would not sound out of place in a Terminator soundtrack, before metallic clangs warn the listener of the maelstrom to follow. Frontwoman Denigrata Herself unleashes a operatic scream over industrial sounding blastbeats before things kick off proper setting the tone for the rest of the album, which needs several listens to appreciate fully. My first listen had me drawing comparisons with The Berzerker, Gate to Khaos, Red Harvest, Anaal Nathrakh and Aborym to name but a few, but these comparisons do not do the complexity and depth of Denigrata’s work justice. The Northampton five piece have created a nihilistic black metal masterpiece which challenges the listener to enter its bleak world where vitriolic screams contrast with operatic vocals set to a backdrop of cold, clinical industrial tinged back metal, hiding subtle swathing melodies.
The album continues with no let up in ferocity until “Rex Tremendae” gives brief respite as evocative melodies intertwine with haunting choral vocal lines. After a brief melodic intro, ”Confustatis Maledictis” restores the pace and we are soon resubmerged into the grim, desolate world of Denigrata which does not relent until the closing bars of Agnus Dei fall silent.
Missa Defunctorum is not an easy listen, but with perseverance its layers fall away leaving a perfect juxtaposition of caustic aggression and harmony.
(8/10 Andy Pountney)