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In Umbra Mortis Sedent
Review by Alex on March 30, 2020.
Pardon me for not being aware of Xpus earlier, and I can't blame anyone that may be unfortunate too, but you really can't keep track of them all especially in these modern times. Think Kommandant and Goatpenis bonded and merged into one compound, perhaps not the best example but somewhere along the lines. The end result, an intimidating, heavyweight type of death and black metal. "In Umbra Mortis Sedent" is the band's second full length record since 2015 with a demo prior to their debut, but now the band finds itself dusting-off the debris of its lengthy slumber and stretching its arms before carrying-on with their duties. Pick any song and it could be the highlight of "In Umbra Mortis Sedent"; full throttle, no-nonsense drumming, a discharge of fervent riffs and hulking vocals as though you got this guys order of pepperoni pizza wrong; mama mia! These gentlemen don't need a handout from any band/s; even though they appear derivative of a select few.
Seems bands are trying a bit harder and putting in the extra effort as a means to branch away from the fixed formula of death and black metal for some years now. And though it's a good step, not all are equipped with the musical skill to execute the move with little to no error. Xpus however, plays with nerves of steel mindset on "In Umbra Mortis Sedent", assuring the compositions structures don't fall-apart or more specifically overlap, ever mindful to keep a decent and interesting balance of both black and death metal. You get that following the intro 'Abyssus Abyssum Invocat' with songs like 'Into the Spheres of Madness', 'Blood Rite of the Liberation' and 'Of Purity Chastity and Temptation' while displaying functional equilibrium for some catchy technicality and segue between the two formats.
As an adjunct to the death and black metal showcase, doom metal has a prominent presence on "In Umbra Mortis Sedent" that begins to take command in peacocking fashion with 'Blood Rite of Liberation'. Used in support, yes, however it does not laze around, rather some initiative is taken to make the element memorable and vital to the music, rather than being a tack-on. Got to love the church-bells on 'Blood Rite of Liberation' and 'Broken is the Seal of Equilibrium' in conjunction with the loud power chords and drums, upping the album's baleful enamor in addition to the dominating phonations of frontman Aren. Though not used much, the church bells meet the desired effect convincingly enough to justify its immanence.
The list of derivatives/'influences don't end with Goatpenis, Wargoat comes to mind when listening to the like of 'Into the Spheres of Madness' and 'Righteous Hands of Molestation' that appear slightly idiosyncratic to 'Unapproachable Laws of the Abyss' in terms of song construct. Bringing me to the riffing and drumming on "In Umbra Mortis Sedent", you'd discover they sync rather nicely and under circumspect examination, the drums seem to replicate the guitar patterns note for note which is quite the feat if you consider how technical at times the music could appear. Even the vocalist chimes in sometimes as an aid to the synchronized technics of drummer Ulviros and guitarist Mornak, thereby giving the album a unified feel. With this brotherly and expert exhibition of a three-piece black/death metal band ongoing, In Umbra Mortis Sedent's outlook persists above the common and forgettable associations within the ambit.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10420