Obscure is a good word for Black Cilice. A name I have heard bandied about for quite a while by fans of a certain type of black metal yes but with a social media and internet presence seemingly consisting solely of a Facebook page untouched for seven years and a shadowy if relentless output I guess this is the epitome of “if you’re interested enough you’ll find me. If you’re not then I don’t care…”

At least this Portuguese one-man project is currently on Iron Bonehead so the music is a little more available. Note I said available, not accessible.

Ok. This is a four-track album of utterly relentless, determinedly lo-fi raw black metal. If the thought of thirty-six minutes of muffled sounding, driven, totally committed furious howling black metal makes you blanche then the exits are there, there and there. Me? Oh I strapped myself in.

Honestly I can’t explain why but this…this here….is for me great black metal. Truly. There’s a fluidity about the album and, when you delve into the muck not just a surprising variation in passages, but a string vein of black metal melody herein. You have to listen to this, if you let it wash over you there will be a vast grey blanket smothering you. Listen, however and you will find those iridescent, dark gleaming threads behind the unhinged howling, the almost subliminal guitar lines dancing between the constant pummelling of drums. It’s hypnotic, compelling and superbly atmospheric.

‘Maze Of Spirits’ even brings this melody to the forefront, has a passage where the thick clouds part and a primitive sparse refrain takes over from the cloying riffs, speeding up and diving deeper. To some this will only highlight the primitive nature of the album, to others this is the absolute essence that black metal springs from: Wilful, belligerent isolationism expressing the within, not caring for what the opinion of the without is.

This isn’t black metal for dabblers. Nor is it music for anyone who needs bright modern production techniques or progressive, djent riddled complexity. It’s not a place to begin your black metal journey but, if you’re already in here and the primitive but utterly focussed appeals then here is Black Cilice. Totally on their own terms. It held my spirit transfixed.

(8/10 Gizmo)