Sanctus Nex

As a chronicler of the vast metal underworld, it is my charge – my burden – to delve deep into sonic realms which are shunned by most mortal ears. Over years of study, I have built up the fortitude, the facility – and, more and more, a growing fascination – with which to endure these demonic cacophonies.

Most are merely comical parodies of the black, squirming darkness, created by buffoons who do not fully fear or respect what they’ve unveiled. Fewer others are the brain-addled output of those who have been corrupted by forces beyond their ken, who scream and lash against their microphones even as the meaning of their words eludes their feeble understanding. And yet a fewer still… may actually be wholly Other, somehow reaching our shores and ears through means which I do not still yet fully grasp. It is these that I must remain vigilant for, shining the light of my pen and experience upon them, so that all who read my work are aware of the grave danger these abominable symphonies pose to our souls…

* * *

At first, Aurelia, by a British outfit who’ve adopted the vaguely ritualistic moniker Sanctus Nex, seemed standard enough. Occultist symbology on the cover and only four tracks, three of which topped ten minutes in duration. I dimmed the lights in my study, took my pen and notebook in hand and prepared to document the sounds that would soon pour forth from my speakers like unholy ichor. “Exordium of the Apostate” unfolded with a succession of sinister arpeggios, repeated like a mantra as tribalistic drumming pounded and skulked and swelled in intensity. Cold, spine-chilling melodies began to seethe and slither forward, deeper and downward towards the next track, “In Pursuit of Albion.” And then, as those first wet, gargled vocals hit my ears, and the drumming increased to a manic, frantic blastbeat, it appears I lost consciousness. Or, I should say, my consciousness traveled elsewhere while my pen kept scribbling.

Moments later, I snapped from my reverie, bathed in sweat and shivering from the chill in the room, to find my pen still weakly struggling against the paper, though I could no longer read what I had written. I traced backwards to find a few cogent notes, the normal output of my craft: “filthy atmosphere”… “cadences and pacing of doom, rendered with black mysticism, then explosions of syncopated fury”… “comparisons to Funeral Mist, Anael, a less progressive or adventurous Akercocke.”

After that, the notes grew more abstruse, the writing oddly slanted and cramped and wholly unlike my own neat penmanship: “Unnatural larynxal emanations possibly aided via mycological inspiration”… “these levels of glossolalia impossible with natural physiology”… “achieve a geometric warping of the tongue along the seventeenth and thirty-second xaphals of thought”… “slit the galaphughia thrice-wise in parallel to meridians already established by classical deophagic ritual…”

Something had happened while I was entranced in those dark coils. Something had gained entrance. And even then, as I attempted to reread those horrible scribblings, I sensed a movement out of the corner of my eye – a soft fluttering in the dim corners of the chamber, as if the faded light were being beaten further back by something pushing against it. No, scrabbling against it, as if the space before me were to suddenly be ripped and torn asunder like a petulant child shredding a family of paper dolls.

And it was then that I heard the first wet thumps from downstairs. A shuffling, an unnatural footfall on the staircase. I shuddered, picturing the unknowable Other that had somehow found its way into my home and even now, crept closer upwards towards my closed study door. It let out a sigh, deep with frustration and impatience, as if just now sloughing off the dream-crust from a thousand seasons without light or sustenance. The doorknob twitched, peculiar tentacles on its other side trying to find purchase on an object not designed for their use or understanding. And then the door creaked open.

A blond woman in her early thirties poked her head inside.

“Ew, what the fuck are you listening to?”

I hastily shut my notebook and twisted the knob on the speakers, quelling the filth that even now raged in its final minutes of the album’s play.

“Just finishing up a review, sorry.”

“Well, come on. I thought we were going to watch American Idol.”

It left the room, closing the door behind it.

I shut off the music, grateful for the silence. Then, before replacing my book on the shelf, I took one last glance at the notes, as if seeking solace in its revelations for the hellish ordeal I now faced downstairs.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
March 3rd, 2010


  1. Commented by: Juan_Pinto

    I once slit the galaphughia thrice-wise along the seventeenth and thirty-second xaphals of thought… Please don’t try it at home.

  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    kickass review

  3. Commented by: gordeth

    :lol: This review is made of win.

  4. Commented by: Shawn Pelata


  5. Commented by: faust666

    Man, thats a well written, creative review !!

  6. Commented by: gabaghoul

    thanks guys, had fun with it. sometimes it’s good to stretch a bit.

  7. Commented by: Joe

    awesome lovecraftian review! the writers on this site are top notch.

  8. Commented by: Cynicgods

    One of the best reviews you’ve ever done and one of the best I’ve ever read. *80’s movie slow-motion clap*

  9. Commented by: broadencity

    I don’t usually submit comments, but Gaba, whether I check this album out or not, this review was pure escapism. You Sir have a gift.

  10. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    this sounds so damned good.

Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.

  • Kerry King - From Hell I Rise
  • Trocar - Extremities
  • Vesperian Sorrow - Awaken the Greylight
  • From Dying Suns - Calamity
  • Volcandra - The Way of the Ancients
  • Kosuke Hashida - Justifiable Homicide
  • The Dread Crew of Oddwood - Rust & Glory
  • Six Feet Under - Killing For Revenge
  • Skulldozer - Non Stop Ruthless Crushing
  • Synestia/Disembodied Tyrant  - The Poetic Edda EP
  • Necropanther - Oblivion Jones: A Tale of False Consciousness EP
  • Sarcasm - Mourninghoul
  • Satanic North - Satanic North
  • Stygian Crown - Funeral for a King
  • Desolus - System Shock