Label: Altare Productions
Review by Tërrørgåsm
The most recent release from Portugal’s Lux Ferre at the tail end of 2015 slipped right through the cracks of my MMRS (mandatory metal release scanner) until being brought to my attention just recently. The Portuguese metal scene, and particularly its black/death branches, is quite incestuous with members of various bands involved in several others each, and Lux Ferre shares bandmates with scads of other notable local acts such as Inthyflesh, Corpus Christii, Flagellum Dei, Lvcifyre, Morte Incandescente, and Alchemist. Upon first discovering their then-new cd “Antichristian War Propaganda” in 2004, I thoroughly enjoyed the band’s take on raw, aggressive and utterly unholy black metal with staccato bursts of blistering riffs and razor-throated rasps, seething with pure malevolence and still possessing an underlying sense of melodiousness; dissonant and distorted yet unrelentingly catchy.
Their follow-up release explored slower, more melancholic territory, featuring an intensely developed portrait of sorrowful and monodic strains somewhat akin to guitarist Marco’s DSBM project Ars Diavoli, and now with this current installment in the group’s sound, we’ve reached a very immediately enveloping transfiguration of turbulent yet tightened maledictions against all that is divine. The buzzing ferocity present from the band’s inception is as vociferously menacing as ever, with a significantly more fleshed-out production highlighting the intricately shifting guitar work and some of the more atmospheric, ambient sample sections which have been added into the mix, creating a fittingly ominous aura of some sinister irreligious procession.
There is a marked shift here toward the more sophisticated stylings of avant-garde, “orthodox” black metal (again, this can be traced to another member’s side project, the bludgeoning Enlighten), but the sound does not tread too far into the discordant droning or disconsolate drudgery of Deathspell Omega’s recent output, nor the legions of robed worshippers suffusing that sombre spectrum of the genre. The songs are all written in the band’s native language, a first for them, but from translating the tracks’ titles, it’s evident that the theme of the album is centred around religious subversion; no shocker for the established territory of black metal, particularly given the band’s name being Latin for “Light Bringer” (Lucifer). Opening cut “A Luz Ofuscante da Verdade” (“The Blinding Light of Truth”, also the translation of the Latin in the album title) blazes right into a cascading conflagration of morose ferocity, with a great catchy riff dominating the listener’s attention until the piece segues into more ambient droning for a moment, giving way to “Não Há Salvação” (“There Is No Salvation”), which keeps the same mid-tempo pace for six minutes, a bitter slow-burn of measured aggression.
There are no big, bombastic lead solos flying over these tracks, nor any focus on hook-laden melodies, so if the dismal tunes of SVEST or Mgła are more your speed than the mellifluous bombasts of Satanic Warmaster or Musta Surma, then this is definitely going to appeal to you. It’s an original and thoughtfully constructed labyrinth of controlled frenzy, a balance of inchoate din and viscerally euphonic concinnities, and the darkly lush production gives it an irresistible allure. As the disc’s second half unfolds, there is a descent into the more DSBM tinged material, with Burzumic shrieked cries evoking tremendous inner pain on “Canção da Loucura” (“Song of Madness”) and carrying over into the acrimonious rapid boil of “Miséria”.
When the drums do go into blastmode and the riffs fly faster, it is extremely stirring, a superb job by the band in crafting emotionally charged music rather than cheap harmonising and standardised shredding, and the further into this sullen abyss you slip, the more you want to stay; I relistened to this album several times and found myself more deeply immersed in the attenuate convolutions of the dense, dissonant melodies, and becoming increasingly enthralled by the epic compositional build-ups with the vocals taking on a more enraged edge of anger at one moment, and then expressing absolute miserable dejection through an evenly-maintained, hoarse shouting cry which is incredibly soul-wrenching, even without knowing the language spoken (extra points go to the lyric writing; if one is patient enough to translate, it’s beyond the typical blasphemy-for-its-own-sake peddled by many acts). Indeed, one gets a sense of the core message just through the sheer power of the creative force behind this scathing work, and although the plodding pace may put some off in favor of more familiar traditional black metal fare, those with a more developed palate will be richly rewarded by the crushing riffs and searing melodies packed into this release; it is a spiritual catharsis that should be experienced and appreciated by any devotee of the black metal arts, one that I’m grateful to have finally caught onto, and I eagerly anticipate seeing what the next chapter of this killer band’s discography will bring to the realms of pure evil black fucking metal.
Final judgment: Not for the weak-willed, prepare to be subjugated by the wrath of Lucifer!!