There is a place far in the North which carries the torch for a particularly ‘orrible, murderous and plain old Satanic brand of black metal. Finland is a place where the obsidian heart of 1990s black metal scene still burns with its freezing touch and where the scene operates with a level of disengagement from the rest of Europe that seems appropriate not just to the geography and culture of the country but the music itself. Not only that, the place seems to be churning out weapons grade black metal with impressive consistency at the moment and Sacrificium Carmen isn’t about to challenge that well-tested rule to any great degree.
Ikuisen Tulen Kammiossa is the band’s first full release after causing a stir with a couple of demos and a split with three other like minded bands with more than a casual interest in the great tempter himself. The style can best be described as well-rooted in orthodox black metal, a grim nod to Finnish masters Sargeist and with a splatter of Taake-style black n roll. Casting aside ice cold blast beats for a far more measured and sinister approach to percussion helps the set the scene on the band’s consistently snarling menace. The bass – yes, you heard it right, the bass guitar, that most un-kvlt of instruments – provides a solid, rumbling back bone like the sound of something unpleasant approaching from some hidden cavity in your walls.
Unhurried riffs, clean single-string riffs and sandpaper vocals build the atmosphere through the first few tracks with a flawless execution even if you might occasionally get the distinct feeling of déjà-vu. Because the grim fire within Sacrificium Carnen is undeniable but it never quite makes up for the fact that the album never quite breaks free from the boundaries of its self imposed journeyman approach.
Tracks like Julman San, a highlight of the album, display all the positive characteristics of the above bands and more. But while this is a more than respectable slab, it still feels like we’re going though the motions of arming the warhead although never quite finding the big lever to pull which delivers the final bang.
Ikuisen Tulen Kammiossa has everything a black metal album needs to make it a decent listen and the band undeniably has provided itself with a worthy debut here. The bonfire has been built, doused with petrol and the fire works are all laid out. All that’s left to do next time round is to light the fuse.
(7.5/10 Reverend Darkstanley)