In the latest edition of what bloody rock did they disappear under it’s time to welcome the return of Arkhon Infaustus. It’s been ten whole years since last album ‘Orthodoxyn’ but the French black / death occultists are finally back, principally as duo and founding member DK Deviant along with new drummer Skvm. Not that we noticed in the UK but the band have solidified as a live act and been playing a few dates along with expanded line-up containing members in the likes of Abbath, Vorkreist and Goat Torment but as far as recorded output is concerned its obvious Deviant Von Black is pulling the strings and what lovely, ghastly sounds they make. I have no idea what exactly caused the hiatus but did enjoy the last album one that had certainly moved on from the early less complicated blasphemy of songs such as ‘Dead Cunt Maniac’ and seen the band getting much more serious. Perhaps DK has been reading forbidden occult texts during his time out and gained higher learning as this is “dead” serious stuff we have here.

It’s time to explore the ancient temple of necromancy even if the cover and title do suggest we are passing it by, the music feels like we are very much entering the dreaded catacombs. We have 4 lengthy tracks here spanning a bit over the half-hour mark and ‘Amphessatamine Nexion’ is the first chamber to explore. It ominously slithers in uncoiling and biting with hoary slow stealth as ceremonial vocals chant in with dreadful intent. Palpable atmosphere oozes out and one feels summoned into a necromantic rite presided over by a black magician intent on drawing the deceased up and enslaving to their dreadful will. Things naturally get faster and the roars become more strident and speak in near tongues as they babble with themselves with low and higher parts in schizophrenic verse. It’s a strong opener dark and dreadful but it still doesn’t prepare you to venture into “The Precipice Where Souls Slither.” Awoken from everlasting slumber here the spirits are in a very bity mood and the guitars snap and snarl away with some magnificent compulsive melody churning through them. Dictatorial vocals command sounding like they are having to do all they can to control the hoard awaiting to venture up into the land of the living and bring terror and contagion, turning day into night. Weird though it sounds on paper but the track moves into some doom-laden parts with the guitar lines sounding like they could actually have escaped from a My Dying Bride track. It works fantastically well and this is a track I simply haven’t been able to stop playing the snappy speed and slower textures gelling together perfectly.

‘Yesh Le-El Yadi’ really does see the vocals powerfully conjuring things up and what they whip is a sandstorm of riffs that march out like an all-consuming skeleton army. It’s a fantastic skewed rhythm here one that almost shouldn’t work but it leaves you hungering to hear it again following bursts of rapid fire drumming and snarly vocals. ‘Corrupted Épignosis’ is a long instrumental but no less the hefty for it and a mighty way to wrap things up, there’s various movements and atmospheres within to explore from long laden doomy crevasses to bell tolling horror summoning to worship. This is one hell of a powerful work and although it seems complete I have to wonder if an extra track could have fleshed things out a bit to album length. Moot point and it is all down to the creators will and vision anyway rather than a mere observer’s whim. The shorter EP running time seems to have drawn me back into this place time and time again since it arrived too so the bewitching spell cast by this slab of pure occult magick cannot be denied in the slightest.

(8.5/10 Pete Woods)