Five varied slabs of black metal make up “Via Dolorosa”, Deitus’s second full album release. What’s impressive here is the progression of atmospheres from dank spaces to fiery riffs and melodies. So it is with the opener “Hallowed Terror”, which leaves us enough breathing space to enjoy the flamboyant guitar patterns while making sure we know our miserable place. I found there’s something Scandinavian about this, more Swedish in the development and metal production style than the more earthy Norwegian, but that doesn’t matter and Deitus are London-based anyway. What is important is that these tracks are finely sculpted pieces of evil.

The title track starts ominously. A guitar line runs behind it. Again the musical skill stands out in the dark framework. The anticipated build-up does not disappoint. We are treated to a flurry of instrumental sophistication. Menace and firepower combine into ferocity. It’s driving and expansive. As well as being tightly played, it’s clear that Deitus know how to bond passages. “Salvifici Doloris” starts by taking on a different aspect, and moving away a little from the melodic black/death style, invokes the creepiness of a Mayhem dirge. Up it cranks, and accompanied by a merciless riff, hell breaks loose. Darkness is superimposed on darkness. The scene is heavy. The instrumentals have colour but yet the depiction is of a grey world without mercy. “Atonement” then has a doom-like quality, reinforcing the gloom, but as ever the black flower blooms with fire, and strong and engaging instrumental work. So it ends.

“Via Dolorosa” consists of five well-crafted tracks creating a vivid picture of a world of suffering. No single moment or passage stood out for me, but what did strike me was the quality of composition and sophistication, resulting in a powerful overall experience.

(8.5/10 Andrew Doherty)