Malum Supplicium

Caedeous is an ‘extreme, symphonic black metal’ band hailing from Lison, Portugal, and due to my addiction to anything symphonic as well as my general love of symphonic black metal, I had to check out their fourth album. And not being familiar with the band I was a bit taken aback.

Instead of the usual grandiose, sweeping, majestic Emperor/ Dimmu/Cradle knockoff, I was greeted with a far more off-kilter, discordant style of symphonic black metal. It’s not quite Ebonylake or Order of Riven Cathedrals batshit insane, but in the same ballpark, with a far more cacophonous, atonal sense of orchestration backing the equally dissonant blackened/death metal.

After a spoken word/orchestral intro “Scales Ad Inferos”, the first track “Cruxis Inferi” gets right to it to let you know this is no gothic, pompous, theatrical affair with unsettling orchestral chord progressions that initially seem off-key, but as the song, and indeed the album wears on, you start to sort to ‘feel’ the album’s overall goal and vibe as you descend a little into madness and things just kind of ‘click’. But not before you teeter on the brink of spiraling.

The same goes for the next few tracks “In Flamma Peribimus” (a particularly atonal number)”Maledictio Animae” and aptly named mindfuckery of  “Pandemonium”, and right before the maelstrom, aided by the dual screams and imposing bellows of  ‘D.M’ ( AKA Thomas Blanc, also of bruising sci-fi death metal act Celestial Swarm) aid in your possible spiral into sonic chaos, the fourth track ” Obscura Ascensionis” delivers a bit of a surprise with some female vocals from ‘Rosmerta’ ( AKA Clare Butterfield-Elséy). And we are dragged back from the precipice into a more lush, familiar Dimmu/Cradle of Filth style that reminds me of the Sara Jezebel Diva era of symphonic black metal, though still pretty chaotic.

However, as the album winds down, as impressive as the discordant bluster can be,  tracks like  “Pergame Altare”, “Abominatio Alchimiae”, and closer “Malum Supplicium” (which comparatively speaking is almost ‘serene’ compared to the rest of the album)  start to give me a bit of a headache, which is a credit to the band’s unrelenting salvo of sheer, chaotic bombast.

A couple of side notes; 1. the CD version of this release (not available at the writing of this review), has a bonus CD of just the orchestral elements, so if you want the string/brass-based chaos of the album with no guitars or drums, you can have it, though I can’t be very relaxing as most ‘orchestra only ‘ releases are.  And 2,  the album was (excellently) produced at Gray Matter Studios in Soham, England, a small countryside town in the fens of England where I spent a good chunk of my childhood. I’m picturing a group of robed/masked/corpse-painted Portuguese folks wandering around the Cherry Tree pub garden. Pretty cool.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 10th, 2023


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