Some things come at you from out of nowhere, with no previous hype, no warning whatsoever, and not even a inkling at what’s about to be at your feet. It’s refreshing and a little bit scary to go into something with no background or idea of what’s ahead, but that also can be enthralling. Slate arrives clean.
Shrine of Insanabilis’ debut record “Disciples of the Void” was kind of like that. Sure, I’m used to getting promo material from WTC Productions, and generally it’s quality and completely terrifying. But this band was something a little different. They formed just this year, there is no lineup announced (only a photo of four shadowy figures), and nothing else to go on but the music contained inside. Imagine that: Forming an opinion on something purely out of what you hear and not based on what each member has done outside the band on in their private lives. The band apparently is obsessed with the concept of voids, itself a scary, mysterious subject matter, and funny enough, it’s like the band emerged from inside of such space.
The material here is ferocious and wonderfully in line with pure black metal. It has its strange, icy ways, no doubt, but if you’re a fan of just being bludgeoned by sound, you’re bound to be pleased by “Disciples of the Void.” The music is harsh, fast, violent, and twists and turns you in the nightmarish vortex they create. This record even has double coverage as far as labels go, with WTC (CD and digital) and awesome Stateside label Fallen Empire (vinyl) each working to get this German band’s horrors out into the world. That extra effort will be well worth it.
“End All” is the strange, ominous opening that swirls all over and eventually begins to blister, leading into “Ruina” that bursts open at the seams. The harsh vocals crush heavily, with the music coming off speedy and relentless, and everything is ripped apart. The vocals are ratcheted up a notch, as the band starts rumbling, the pace is wrenching, and the song comes to a dramatic conclusion, with blood rushing everywhere. “Acausal Paths” has riffs racing hard, with an infusion of melody adding color, and the vocals sounding like they’re mangling the messenger’s throat. The pace starts to settle, like a cloud cover is hanging overhead threatening downpour, and from there the soloing begins to rage, and the band clobbers everything in front of it. Strange instrumental “………..” is chilling and morbid, with a preacher howling over top, threatening damnation, and that sets up “Invocation,” which erupts totally from the word go. The growls are ferocious, which is no surprise, with melodies lapping up, feedback surging, and slow pounding suffocating. Guitars stretch out and scorch, with weird speaking growls lurching, the tempo blowing up, and the final moments torching the hairs on your arm.
“Still of This Earth” is a swelling, fiery epic at 9:44, and it launches with a slow open, with the band taking time to set the mood, boiling and stinging you with their playing. Then it rips open, with maddening growls scraping and the band stomping along with blood thirst. We later slip into cold, calculating waters, as the music rains down, the path suddenly swirls and sickens, and the band conjures a devastating ending that could end cities. “Cycles and Circles” keeps the vertigo in place, especially as the guitars take a tornadic path, and the vocals feel downright sinister. Again, there are colorful melodies to add different dashes to their horrific style, and the dark riffs that build up at the back end pile on the mud and death. “Acerbus” drills and penetrates, eating away at your psyche as the band packs on gruff growls, the mid-tempo pace burns, and a mystical sense gushes free, engulfing the song and washing out the insanity. Closer “Omega” is a quick conclusion built on noise zaps, solemn keys, and guitars blinding, as the track, and the entire document, echoes to a finish.
Shrine of Insanabilis is a breath of dank, dismal air, and their “Disciples of the Void” is a furious entrance into the world, where black metal could use a vicious wake-up call. While the band is transfixed with the concept of nothingness, their music is anything but that. It’s a towering inferno of passion, a collection of incantations that should haunt and leave you battered. The thick layer of mystery over the band only enhances the strangeness of their black mission.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ShrineOfInsanabilis
To buy the album, go here: http://w-t-c.web-republic.de/store/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.w-t-c.org/
And here: http://www.fallenempirerecords.com/