This Italian black metal outfit has had a fairly steady release rate since the debut in 1997, with a new aural sacrifice being offered up every few years though this latest has taken six years to come out since 2013’s “To Perdition”. My initial impressions of this album were not particularly hopeful after the opener “An Eagle Upon My Shield (Veteris Vestigia Flammae)” which comes across as laboured and directionless, but that is rectified when the incendiary “Before Me (The Womb of Spite)” follows with its retro blackened wrath bringing about authentic black metal riffing where the hyper speed phases are counterbalanced by relatively slower more melodic insertions.

It is clear that the band has focused the sound around the guitar work and as a result the drum sound and mix is a little weak and lacking power though the speed is relentless when pushed to the limits. “Carved in Disharmony (Void and Essence)” continues the onslaught as this track offers the variations in tempo I have suggested where the viciousness is diverted into a more emotive slower passage with good results, especially when the double bass is fused into the mix. That slowness is amplified on the moody desolation of “Down Lower (Men and Ruins)” which for those wanting the lightning fast material will probably be bored by, but it offers good contrast to the album especially when it is followed by “Celebrate Consume… Burn!” where the song shifts into a mechanized brutal affront. The drumming here has a robotic terror about it, remorselessly delivered with potency adhered to the blasting fury.

“Toward the Fallen Ones (Psalms to Discontinuity)” prefers to maintain the outright violence as the quirky riffing, something I particularly enjoyed about this release, adds that extra memorable factor before the whole obsidian slab is reined in for “Thorns to Redemption (Gemendo Germinat)”. The steady escalation in power and speed works well in producing a beast of a song strengthened by the kick drum infusions. Whilst there are tons of black metal albums being released this should stand the test of longevity with varied songs producing a textured listen that true black metal fans still desire.

(7.5/10 Martin Harris)