Heavy and industrial …. it doesn’t have to be German but it is. Dirty rumblings and heinous growls get us under way on “Manes Impetus”, Essenz’s third album. Essenz are known for “bursts of transformation” in their music. What this means that in amongst the extreme core black metal violence, there are passages of apocalyptic noise and doom.

After an 11 minute scene setter in which hope fails to feature, “Unfolding Death” unveils further ghastliness and manic manifestations of evil. The guitar work is so raw that it’s almost punk. It certainly has the speed. The start of “Amortal Abstract” doesn’t. It’s slow, swampy, bassy and from a deep world of menace and haunting moans. Sludgy doom is the only place where this was ever going to go at this point. A repetitive black metal surge ends the track before “Randlos Gebein” takes us down another remorseless path of bleak and harsh violence. There’s an element of Farsot in here with all the menace, but I find there’s no breathing space. Stifling weighty passage follows stifling weighty passage. Cold whistling winds intervene as extremity embraces the ponderous. Thus far it had all been uninspiring but I did like “Sermon to the Ghosts”, an atmospheric ambient piece. Sound waves like pulses rise up every few seconds at the front of obscure cosmic noises. It’s chilling. “Ecstatic Sleep” then plumbs the depths once more and exposes to us another seven minutes of grainy and nihilistic extremity to finish.

This is all so unremittingly hopeless that it’s hard to get anything out of it. At least with the likes of Blut aus Nord, Dark Fortress or Farsot I can sense something. Here my senses are numbed. The stylistic transformations add a certain variety but even this is unsatisfying and for me the message coming from “Manes Impetus” was always the same.

(6/10 Andrew Doherty)