To say I was apprehensive to grab of copy of Sortilegia’s latest creation may have been an understatement, as it isn’t your traditional black metal concoction. The group are comprised of vocalist / guitarist Koldovstvo from the Ukraine along with Canadian drummer Haereticus and a relatively small back catalogue. However I approached it with on open and willing ear, as their previous efforts had been of good standing.

This is Sortilegia’s second full length production, and the previous had been received with open arms, so I was expecting a gracious effort in ‘Sulphurous Temple’ and the opening didn’t disappoint. The carcass is made up of 6 songs which constituted a truly atmospheric, raw, 40 minutes, which is bleak and barren in its deliverance.

‘Night’s mouth’ sets the tone, and really opens the listener up to a world of pure filth and rawness, which puts straight into the bowels of hell. While the music arrangement, which makes up the skeletal frame of this release, is solid and robust enough, the vocals really fall short.

Koldovsto is the brain child in this process and while she can be commended for the intricacy and aggression which is on show here, the vocal style and set up is as far removed as you can get. The best way to describe the quality and deliverance of the vocals is to pose the opinion that it is far too intermittent and random. The vocals don’t seem to intertwine with any of the musical backdrop and seem holy unsystematic in their attitude.

The production is noisy and hollow but this seems to compliment the whole mood of the album. 5 out of the 6 tracks are decadent in their approach to the rawest, blackest side of the black metal underworld, yet the mid album track ‘The Veil’ offers a welcome respite from the ingenuousness, with a truly mesmerising and magical twining of guitar leads and atmosphere.

The album is closed with a blistering ‘Exalting In Acrid Flames’ which sees Koldovsto ring it out with a demonic scream worthy of being embedded deep in Lucifer’s garden, before the final chords ring out.

This could have been so much better had the vocals been more structured and more flowing, and if the production had been polished just a little bit more, without extracting any of the true rawness from the proceedings, but unfortunately, for my ears at least, it just doesn’t live up to expectations

(5/10 Phil Pountney)