Devs Iratvs

ArthemesiA arrived from the ashes of Celestial Agony in February ’98 with their first demo. Devs Iratvs is their self-financed debut full length, which landed them on Native North Records.

This Finnish corpse-painted five piece take their name from Arthemesia absinthium, the plant that the drug extract that caused Van Gogh to cut off his ear comes from. This plant extract, used by witches and magicians, offered the power of seeing. Not surprisingly, they call their style Magickal Black Metal. Fortunately, they see a bright future.

Based strongly on the early 90’s Norwegian scene, these black metallers firmly resist all techno influences and instead go back further to Mercyful Fate and the thrash movement. This is symphonic black metal, but no trendy Dimmu Borgir/Cradle of Filth textures here. This is early Immortal with keyboards reminiscent of early Emperor. It is not as brutal, with more melodies, the guitars dominate and, to these ears, bring Coroner to mind. The twin guitar attack takes black metal back to its Mercyful Fate roots and the atmospheric soundscapes and chanted clean vocals is reminiscent of the mid 90’s black metal scene.

 The dominant vocal style is what one would expect: the patented low pitched shriek/growl. The musicianship is strong and consistent throughout the album. The strong use of violin in “Ancestor of Magick” adds immensely to the feel and I hope they continue this in the future. The finale to the album is a whispering acoustic piece very similar to Immortal’s “The Call of the Wintermoon” on Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism. It fades into five minutes of silence and then a final 15 seconds of chanting. A strange ending to a strong album.

If you preferred Mercyful Fate over Slayer back in the old days, you are in for a treat. With a strong foundation from black metal’s 20-year history and an eye toward experimentation without abandoning what got black metal to this point, ArthemesiA proves that black metal is not dead and need not give in to the dictations of the trendy new wave of pseudo black metallers. Highly recommended, tell a friend.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
February 6th, 2001


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