Well one thing is assured, Qayin Regis certainly have a doctrine and here be it. “QAYIN REGIS’ Black Metal is orthodox and consciously based in the spiritual gnostic syncretization of the Spanish black magic, the cult of Death and the left hand path. All member identities and everythimg related to QAYIN REGISs remains in a absolute mystery.” Yep that is as we got the info in a press release and it has not been corrected. Now I am sure I am not alone in reading this and thinking “what a load of gobbledygooks” on the one hand and at the best shaking head and proclaiming “well good for them.” I know one thing though and that is that such press statements put writers off going and actually reviewing an album as it comes across as really rather pretentious and it all detracts from the music itself. This is a case in point as the offered download was ignored and still even with a CD turning up over 20 writers seemingly did not want to go here. Then with all the serious talk of occult practice which, lets face it takes years of study to even scratch the surface of, the 3 mysterious band members come up with the names Patriarch Venerable Saturn, Sovereign Pontiff Aheraaz & Sublime Tirannus of Vedma. I mean really…
As with many who tread the orthodox black metal path, once you get past all the flim-flam and onto the music itself, it is really rather good. Qayin Regis are no exception to this rule giving us 4 dense numbers running at over 40 minutes in length. Of course they use Latin willy-nilly on track titles such as ‘Via sincretica obscura’ (and I have just noticed on their Bandcamp page as a further description I really can’t be bothered attempting to translate) but they set up an obsidian atmosphere as they rumble into things and it’s all deadly serious stuff thankfully. After building things up (in more ways than one) the track flies out the traps with feral, head tearing-off intent and bombs along nicely. Vocals are coarse and raspy the sublime Tirannus putting on a great and varied performance throughout, occult atmospheres are ramped up especially on the slower melodic parts and guitar harmony is fantastic. Poise and precision is the name of the game here, despite big bursts of speed it is the obscure folds of the bands religiosity that perhaps spur the dark and dangerous atmospheres within the music itself (now I’m sounding pretentious but perhaps here it is a case of the two going hand in hand). This leads by stealth via gothic textures from the guitars and a sense of doom leading through long sprawling tracks such as Yee Naaldlooshii (a Navajo skin-walker in case you were interested). One definitely gets the feeling of traversing labyrinthine passageways and discovering long forgotten catacombs on this journey, perhaps the Blind Dead are unlocked from their tomb along the way as pestilence and ancient evil is definitely channelled by the music here. The clanking drum-booming passages where guitars drop out the picture are particularly effective adding to a sense of dread and for a debut album coming from a band with just a shorter EP before it this is really accomplished work leading to the obvious curiosity of who these players actually are?
Acoustic guitar and slow drum beat take into ‘Neenia Ataecina’ the meaning of which escapes in obscurity and then savagery is unleashed once more. The vocals are fierce in sermon and a hugely tempered melody adroit with glistening guitar shards unravels giving those at the top of the game in countries more associated with this craft such as Sweden, Greece and France a serious run for their daggers and cloaks. It has actually taken a fair few listens of this for it to fully start and sink in but that is no problem as the complexities within the work have proved it to be deeply fulfilling. All 4 tracks work as a complex whole and the alchemy runs through them culminating in 12-minute finale ‘Deo aironis’ a rite drenched in blood, fire and death and delivering everything one could wish for from a serious orthodox black metal band.
I’m glad this finally got picked up and covered as it really deserves to be and despite initial forebodings Qayin Regis is a name to take with the utmost sincerity and seriousness of their intent. The mark of Cain is all over this one.
(8/10 Pete Woods)