Fides Inversa threw a few people with the change of pace between their first and second albums even though both were finely distilled black metal class. The debut was an unhinged white knuckle ride that felt like an unholy marriage of Watain and Deathspell Omega. Crackling with energy, it was irrepressible. The second, which proved to some, for reasons I’m still not entirely able to fathom, harder to swallow. Admittedly the production was unusual but, for Christ’s sake (yes, him – listen, we’ll need all the help we can get before 2017’s out), who cares about whether the drums are too heavily in the foreground when a band is this good? Taking the same dangerously sliding guitar riffs, it stamped the band’s own personality hard and fast, dropping the key slightly and adopting a slightly more stripped down vibe.
It felt more like the epitome of black metal black mass and was, unlike the first, braver and more undisputedly Fides Inversa rather than a band pulling together top class influences and pressing hard on the accelerator. Thankfully, Rite Of Inverse Incarnation, a two track EP, has not lost any of the developing individualism the band unleashed last time round. The chanting black rites are blended wonderfully with thrashing madness and finely executed, bilious guitar chords.
It’s probably worth mentioning that drummer Omega AD also provides vocal duties which makes an interesting spectacle live when two guitarists and bassist line up on stage with the added demands of filling the space and presence normally taken by the singer. His other affiliations are too numerous to mention so here’s a few that probably provide some signposts to Fides Inversa: Acherontas (has every band I’ve reviewed recently had some affiliation with Acherontas?), Icelandic and international newcomers Martröð (on last year’s excellent EP Transmutation of Wounds); Blut Aus Nord and Glorior Belli.
But this time round they’ve invited Behexen guitarist Wraath in on vocals and apparently the whole two tracks were recorded in a day and a night in a fit of Satanic glory. The first track is solid – much as anyone who has heard the previous albums who have expected. Steady, soaring leads mixed with yelled vocals layered with chants segueing into a tidal surge of blistering black metal. The second track feels a little more like and mid-album track that works well in a 50 minute ritual of candlelit delight but perhaps less so in a 20-minute two part stop gap. Indeed, the issue with Rite of Inverse Incarnation is that it may not be bringing anything to the Fides Inversa party that we hadn’t already consumed beyond what was entirely healthy the first couple of times round.
This will serve and good fodder for fans holding tight for the next full length but for anyone new to the band I’d strongly suggest dipping your toes in the ugly waters of the band’s two full lengths rather than shelling out your pitiful human currency on this just yet.
(7/10 Reverend Darkstanley)