Saturday, December 15, 2012


Edicius - Pure Degenered Madness
Ordealis Records, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. Izen Blod
2. Pure Degenered Madness
3. Virgitatem Alicujus
4. Iris' Black Hole
5. Transgressive's End Bleeding
6. Opus Untitled
7. Detoria Sequor
9. Bledemon
10. Unsgohort
11. Odgen Blut
12. Obscurum Odium
13. Embryonic Sadic Execution

Keeping in line with the Ordealis method of pressing albums, this is limited to one thousand copies worldwide.  So I would highly recommend you purchase this album if you ever see it anywhere, provided this review provokes you to do so.  It appears also that Edicius has been brought down to a one man band for this release and I can only assume there was one man behind the writing of just about all their material.  Typically there is one mastermind behind the Black Metal bands.  Unfortunately they have not printed any of their lyrics, only some sentences in the booklet and they are hardly decipherable in the songs vocal performance.  They do not seem to have any one defined concept and their focal point actually appears to center around trying to create an essence of chaos, but I would still like to have read their lyrics.

Now I will start off by saying that musically this is, on some levels, not the easiest release to get into.  I know many people are assuming that because this is Black Metal the production must be the problem, but to be honest I think the production on here is perfect.  I can hear every aspect of the music, and studio wise it just sounds well produced.  The difficult part comes in the arrangement and structure of a good portion of the songs.  When I first listened to it, I thought to myself “hmmm… that’s an interesting thing to do.”  I was not even sure how to feel about it, but at first it felt off.  It seriously took me four listens to get into this release.  Some people may take longer; others may get into it sooner.  One thing is for sure, when you are hit with the initial three minutes of “Izen Blod” you will be very impressed.

“Pure Degenered Madness” opens in one of the most impressive ways I have heard an album open in a long time.  It has this strange effect that it feels like you are on a battlefield and the war is coming.  You hear the commander barking orders, this is where the vocals enter with a heavily distorted feel, the guitars and drums enter the scene and pummel the listener, and then it slows down as the first volley of artillery is finished.  The album then strikes back and assaults it’s listener with more intensely Brutal Black Metal.  Now all of that sounds simply excellent doesn’t it?  The problem with this song and the rest of the release is that it is not consistent.  That is the part that caught me off guard and I was unsure on how to feel about it initially.  That is what makes this a somewhat difficult release to get into at first.  Once you overcome that strange feeling in the first track you start to enjoy track after track of this rather different approach to an arrangement.  The segments of brutality are never very constant because they will degenerate into a more somber aspect with eerie keyboard work coupled with an eerie guitar line and sinister vocals.  In retrospect the listener begins to realize that this is an even better approach because it makes the album so much more interesting.  Rather than level the intensity volume on high and trying to assault the senses of the listener it takes a step back and tries to offer a completely different feeling and world in its presentation.

The guitar work is far from impressive on this album, mainly it is just a lot of excellent guitar riffs that have a very powerful sound or have a very deep essence to them, nothing that is overly technical or designed to “wow” the listener with some sort of skill.  However, driving home from band practice one evening I noticed something shocking about some of the tracks on this album.  The song “Pure Degenered Madness” is, for just about the whole song, just one guitar riff up until the end when it switches to a different riff to close the song.  The riff is played over and over again, just in slightly different variations, with slightly different distortions and presentations or even a dynamic shift in the volume of the riff.  Now most people would say that given my experience playing the guitar this should be something that greatly degrades the album for me.  Well, it does not and here is why.  I had this album for about two months before I picked up on that detail, any band that can mask that detail from a musician for that long has to be doing something proper.  Then I started really listening to the way they engineered the album and I found that that is where this was the most interesting.  I could not believe I had been duped into not noticing that sooner.  Not every song on here is comprised of one guitar riff, but a great majority of the songs are one or two riffs at most.  If you are saying to yourself now this seems hardly a selling point of the album, well I challenge you to get this and try it out.  I was rather shocked when I discovered this.  I personally think this is quite a talented band to compose music in this manner, because four minutes of one riff would seem hardly exciting, but Edicius scoff at such a restrictive statement and compose a highly interesting track from one musical piece.  Rather than change the guitar riffs they change all the surrounding elements so often it sounds different.  So they take one riff and make it sound like five different riffs, just by changing the feel and representation of that section of music and changing the other sections such as vocal production or backing off on the drum arrangement.  It is a very ingenious method on the way they present this album.  It is mind boggling at times! 

As I described the track “Izen Blood” above as having an up and down feel in terms of intensity, the rest of the album has a similar approach.  Most of the album is highly intense Black Metal, with a very empowering drum tone, which is really the reason this album has such a powerful sound.  I doubt this album would sound as intense with less emphasis on the drum production.  But the album has some down time when it comes to “Deforia Sequor” and “Talisac” which are two fairly somber songs.  I love the dark essence on “Deforia Sequor” the most; it is so depressive sounding and just saps any feelings of hope from the listener dry.  The vocal performance for all the aforementioned tracks is quite amazing because it does not stay confined to one sound or tone like most Black Metal bands.  This is probably another reason why they can get away with using very few guitar riffs per song. 

On an interesting note Edicius seem to be proponents of eugenics.  Inside the booklet, which is related to the last track and it says “eugenism is good for mankind; legalize euthanasia, embryonic sadic execution.”  So they do seem to have some sort of an ethic, in this instance, being they think the strong of life should be allowed to survive in this world.  Overall, though, it states in the booklet that “Edicius is a vision of extreme music to find himself.”  I can only assume this refers to the sole musician in the project and how Edicius seems to be a catalogue of his journey through life and references what he learns via this music.

At first glance this does not seem to be a very unique approach, or an overly impressive album, but when you start pulling apart all of its little secrets then you discover something all the more shocking.  I was overwhelmed with shock when I figured out their guitar arrangements.  I think any listener or reader here will be impressed with the opus Edicius have put together for all of us to hear, well maybe not all, since it is limited to one thousand copies after all.  The Black Metal essence of darkness just overwhelms the listener, I cannot help making reference to Axis of Perdition’s darker moments for similarity on “Pure Degenered Madness”.  I recommend you listen to “Embryonic Sadic Execution” to back up that reference.  Regardless of the fact that it is a difficult album to get into initially, it does not change the fact that in the end it is an amazing approach to Black Metal.  May I remind the readers that at first glance Axis of Perdition is very difficult to get into too, but in the end people cannot do anything but stand in awe at their impressive approach to this musical genre.  Edicius may not encompass the world in the same way Axis of Perdition does, but that is my best reference for “Pure Degenered Madness,” for it is as if being lost in insanity with random bursts of reality seeping through to the listener.

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