Ab Amitia Pulsae
Review by Felix on April 2, 2023.
Dear friends of infame art, perhaps you are aware that Purity Through Fire works as a platform for a kind of incestuous sect of Teutonic black metal musicians. Ad Mortem, Eisenkult, Meuchelmord, Atronos – everybody seems to make music with everybody. Even bands that do not belong to the roster of the German label are involved, for example Totenwache. All these formations have already left their mark with some great songs: 'Schwarzes Blut', 'Brutal Und Furchtlos Stumpf', 'Waffenweihe', 'Feuer Und Stahl', 'Der Schwarze Hort', to name just a few. However, in my humble opinion, it is Mavorim that dominates this conspiratorial community. Baptist, the man who runs this project almost alone, seems to save his best ideas for the albums which appear under this banner. With this said, my expectations are always very high when it comes to a new output from his side.
Ab Amitia Pulsae (struck by loss) is the fourth full-length and provides eleven tracks with an opulent playtime of more than 52 minutes. But it goes without saying that the technical details are less interesting than the musical and lyrical content. To start with the latter: nothing has changed. Baptist still plays with the German language skilfully, neither in a primitive nor in a wannabe high sophisticated (read: unnatural) way. The eloquent dude does not shy away from a few clear vocal parts. He already made good use of his normal voice on previous releases. Nevertheless, mostly he barks, nags and commands in a vile manner. Therefore his vocals complement the guitars nearly perfectly, because they add the grim black metal element to the melodies which are pretty harmonic from time to time. Not always; a comparatively short, strict shocker like 'Unter Den Mühlen Der Zeit' puts the focus on merciless pressure. But since the first release, Mavorim's art has different facets and their most exciting songs have always presented a glorious combination of malignancy and melody.
'Die Andere Seite Deines Traumes' continues this fascinating tradition. Don't trust the melancholic, mellow guitar at the beginning, a barbaric cry tears the harmony apart and a multi-layered piece runs its course. The high velocity parts are close to perfection, the guitars don’t forget to forge almost cynical melodies and the poisonous vocal performance outlines a personal tragedy. A great arrangement, a 100% song – and even better than 'Das Joch Der Schande', another overwhelming, quite straight song. I love the immaculate balance between the dominating guitars and the more or less thin yet highly atmospheric keyboards tones. Inter alia the part where Valfor's double bass fire meets Baptist's clear vocals is masterly arranged. Another highlight bears the name 'Was Des Lebens Nicht Wert'. It begins with a very simple guitar line, but Mavorim are able to give the song an apocalyptic aura and in particular the flattening guitars after the short calm intermezzo create a very dense and oppressive mood.
Musicians who think they are clever (mostly a world exclusive assumption) always tell us that their new album is their best one. Marketing for absolute beginners, lesson one. I don't think that Baptist wants to join the ranks of these notorious liars and honestly speaking, Ab Amitia Pulsae is not the best Mavorim output so far. Nevertheless, it is a top-notch release. But for the sake of completeness, I also want to mention its minor "flaws". Neither the outer-space-vibes spreading intro with an air raid siren at the end nor the nearly oriental outro are essential. 'Ein Zerrbild Der Leiden' with its chamber music ending is okay, but not that kind of opener which blows you away while setting the bar extremely high for the following tracks. 'Bis Nur Noch Knochen übrig Bleibt' adopts the aesthetics of Graveland at the beginning and houses almost ballad-like parts. Not every sequence comes into full bloom here, but there are also many parts that underline the extra class song-writing of Baptist.
The lyrically merciless 'Erlischt Für Immer Nun Das Licht' features vortex-like melodies and delivers the final assault. Don't think that its relatively soft instrumental part spends clemency. The song as a whole lies in close proximity to the absolute highlights of Ab Amitia Pulsae. The same goes for the more and more intensity gaining 'Zerrinne Im Nichts' or 'Das Schluchzen Und Wimmern' which finds its salvation in broad, nearly excessive keyboard lines that are accompanied by the force of the double bass. So what did I forget to describe? The production? Of course, it is fantastic and aligned with those of the previous full-lengths. This means we get an album with a smooth sound, an almost polished one. This seems to be part of the concept. The mix makes us believe in an ideal world, which of course is torn down in seconds by Baptist's voice and lyrics. And don't believe that a mix which lacks corners and edges is unable to develop pressure and strength – the exact opposite is true. Given all these facts, Mavorim do not only lead the Purity Through Fire black metal community. Moreover, they belong to the top five or even top three in the whole Teutonic scene, which is, forgive me this patriotic side note, an extremely strong one.
Rating: 8.8 out of 101.45k