If you’ve missed out on all the drama that has been plaguing Ævangelist, it follows pretty much the same pattern as Batushka – band splits, both parties claim to be the original, blah, blah, blah, no one really cares. On to how the music sounds…This is the second release of 2020 from the Finnish counterpart of the now splintered group, with Matron Thorn covering all instruments, while Stéphane Gerbaud (ex-Anorexia Nervosa) provides the vocals. With three tracks spanning 53 minutes it’s a formidable listen and an undertaking that’s not to be entered into casually.

For an album with such an expansive playtime there really isn’t a lot to unpack here – while the novelty of drone laden death metal infused with a saxophone was great back in 2014, six years later it just sounds like Sunn O))) having a collective seizure. There are rare glimmers of intrigue, the intense ending of ‘I: The Origin and End of All: Pain of the Fallen’ which bleeds straight into the beginning of ‘II: Ceremony of Decomposition of Bodies’ comprises a frantic guitar and methodical drum work. However, the vocals remain the most interesting part of the entire record and Stéphane wasn’t even a part of the original line-up.

While Ævangelist have certainly found their niche and do what they do well, there is a point to be argued as to how entirely necessary that is. With nothing new to add and no further development or evolution to their musical output since ‘Writhes in the Murk’, it feels as though they’re a band that would have done better to have stayed disbanded and ended on a high note, rather than continuing to release record after record of the exact same thing. For pre-existing fans this album will be a delight, for everyone else it’s a test of endurance.

(6/10 Angela Davey)