All three band members of this German black metal act are prolific in a number of other bands such as Evil Warriors, Division Speed, Vidargängr, to name a few and within this project they are simply named as B, M and S and play bass, drums and guitars respectively. Where is the vocalist you are now pondering, and the answer to that is that there isn’t one as this band is an instrumental black metal act though the band has incorporated some backing chant voices into the music though I may have misinterpreted this during my listens of the album.

You only have to look at the album art to gain some insight as to what to expect with its greyscale art conjuring up images of corruption and demons via two worlds from my interpretation, though you may see things differently. With seven tracks on offer the album opens with the short acoustic piece “Ascend Through Winds” that leads into “Site Of Vastness” and immediately you are thrust back through time 25 years or so where black metal minimalist production was fundamental to the genre and still is to some. The stark desolate guitar sound makes you want to isolate yourself in a darkened room, remove yourself from society as the blasted waves of percussion are kept to a minimum and held at the back within the production as this lengthy piece of music goes through a metamorphosis of moods. This transformation brings in those backing voices I mentioned, croaking residual voices on a semi acoustic foundation before the track returns to the acerbic blackened assault.

“Fire Theurgy” begins in a pagan like fashion with percussive strains and a gentle guitar melody that is steeped in desolation before the song strides into blackened bleakness. The speed is relentless here, but not without melody as the band blends it all exceptionally well as the song is adorned lightly with backing chants that work extremely well and I apologise if I am misinterpreting these sections but that is how I am hearing it. “The Arrival” is a beautiful interlude that precedes the monumental epic “Wyrd”, a 14 minute expansive track that honours everything that is great about true black metal as it begins with a pristine guitar melody and haunting chant that bristles with emotion. The songs gradual and sequential escalation in tension is brilliantly executed, each passing second is layered with passion building to the shot of double bass and momentum as the speed is increased. You can close your eyes and be carried along with the power and despairing emotion of the song as those pagan like chants texturize the song to even more depth. The ever evolving complexity pinnacles with the song attaining blasting speed and is unerringly intense. The superb switch in tempo to double bass is fantastic and I belie you not to have goose bumps as each wave of the track envelops you in its embroiling tendrils of sumptuous obsidian artistry that links into the calming outro composition “Magical Herbs”. This is a synth based tune that allows the magnificence of “Wyrd” to wash away and leave you cleansed and in no doubt that Cntmpt’s sophomore album is a wonderful demonstration in the true black metal art.

(9/10 Martin Harris)