Thursday, June 27, 2013


LvxCælis - Slaughtering of the Lamb
Lamech Records, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

1. Temple of Eternal Glory
2. Burning into the Light
3. Darkening Sun. Evolving Chaos.
4. The Veil of Death
5. Come Forth from the Abyss (Live)

LvxCælis caught my attention with their full-length and I was surprised to see this release on tape surface. Once again coming from Lamech Records means that the booklet and layout design of extremely high quality. It's one thing I love about this label, I never feel ripped off when it comes to art direction at all, ever. This tape has a multi-panel, beautiful booklet with lyrics and liner notes.

I wasn't sure to expect from the music, I sort of expected more of the same, which we found on the full-length, but I think this material is a little different from their original style. "Slaughtering of the Lamb" opens with a haunting keyboard track, before delving into a slow and brooding piece, which is more akin to Doom Metal than Black Metal. "Burning into the Light" is much more upbeat and has this sort of old school vibe with far more Thrashier moments than anything I would have expected. It even comes complete with a blazing solo. It kind of makes me reminisce about the massive Black/Thrash Metal scene throughout South America. After this the following two tracks seem to follow the form I would expect from LvxCælis. They have this brooding darkened occult Black Metal, which is what I've come to expect from the band. Bearing that general influence from the Swedish occult scene. It does make me wonder if these were some tracks left over during the full-length writing process and finally recorded here. The tape closes with a live version of "Come Forth from the Abyss", which is kind of amusing in some respects, because you can hear the crowd talking throughout the song. It's sort of strange, because I rarely hear this in live recordings.

If you're already a LvxCælis fan, then this tape is probably worth getting. The art and layout are certainly worth it and the two songs in the vein of the full-length are definitely worth hearing. The other material is decent, but it makes for an interesting element in the LvxCælis discography.

LvxCælis - Mysteria Magica Maxima XXIII
Lamech Records, 2012
Genre: Black Metal

1. Under the Nine Rays of Darkness
2. Summoning Ceremony
3. Ascending Through Eternal Fire
4. Heaven & Hell
5. Pvrificatio (Liberate Me!)
6. Mass for the Master
7. Come Forth from the Abyss
8. Slaughtering of the Lamb
9. Cross Initiation
10. I Have Seen the Light

Here is what I was really waiting to listen to.  This is the studio full length and what a difference that has made to what LvxCælis was trying to show off on the demo.  A lot of those beautiful elements that got buried in the demo shine through brightly on this studio recording.  They return again to Lamech Records for the release and they have once again provided beautiful packaging in the guise of an eight panel digipack.

The first thing I noticed with this release is that they've re-recorded all the Metal songs from the demo.  I am especially glad they did this with "Under the Nine Rays of Darkness" and "I Have Seen the Light" because I wanted to hear what a studio treatment would be like for those songs.  "Under the Nine Rays of Darkness" is everything I hoped it would be in the studio.  I was disappointed to see "Summoning Ceremony" show up on here, because unless they changed that song drastically it still wouldn't fit well.  It turns out I'm right about that.  They did do some re-working with the old songs and they do come across a lot more modern and fitting to the concept, but "Summoning Ceremony" still sticks out poorly.  I'm not sure if having it as the second track was a good idea or bad idea.  At least this early on I can get immersed in the rest of their sound without being interrupted.  I feel including it at the end as a sort of "bonus" would have been a more wise decision.  Another track that disrupts the flow is "Heaven & Hell", but only with the opening riff.  The opening riff is patently right out of the Thrash/Heavy Metal world and it just comes across as bizarre on a release like this.  However, the song quickly slides down the hole of wonderfully vile sounding Black Metal, thus saving all the worth of the song!  "Come Forth from the Abyss" has been re-worked in such a way to make it sound extremely good with where it sits on the album.  I have slightly mixed feelings on "I Have seen the Light", the re-working makes the track very epic and awe inspiring, but I did like the vicious edge of the demo version.  All the new tracks are simply spectacular though, I really can't emphasize that enough.  They permeate this thick haunting atmosphere as they bestow their occult knowledge onto the listener.  It makes for a very excellent and immersive listen.

The other massive change from the demo is the vocal treatment.  I'm honestly not sure if I should be disappointed about it or not.  The vocalist that worked on the demo is not involved with the band as a full member.  Part of me deeply wishes he had done the vocal treatment for this studio album, but in the end we get a perfectly good vocal performance from Frater A.  His vocal style closely resembles that of Glorior Belli's Infestvvs, when I thought Gloror Belli used to play Black Metal I liked.  In the end this vocal performance is certainly appropriate to the style and fits in quite well, but I can't help but wonder what it would have been like with the other vocalist.  Lyrically this has the same treatment as the demo.  It's that sort of Luciferian Gnostic type of occultism.  A lot of Swedish bands are into this and some French styled groups.  "Cross Initiation" is a sort of spoken word piece that made me think of the "secret wisdom" ideas that Rêx Mündi spend their time developing in their form of serpent worship.

I found this release a very enjoyable listen.  I would highly recommend checking out this project especially if you are enamored with this occult form of Black Metal.  It definitely focuses on creating a serious atmosphere which is something I highly appreciate in music.  There are only a few things I would change, but I think their writing is heading in a particular direction to make their next effort nearly flawless!

LvxCælis - Nigredo-The Dead Head
Lamech Records, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

1. Under the Nine Rays of Darkness
2. I've Seen the Light...
3. Summoning Ceremony
4. Come Forth from the Abyss
5. Putrefaction (Outro)

I first heard a track off this bands debut full length, but I was lucky enough to buy their demo when I ordered the full length.  LvxCælis' imagery and sound appeared to be directly from the deepest occult reaches of Europe, so I was rather surprised to see they were from Chile when I looked the band up.  Their name roughly translates from the Latin "Heavens Light."

This is the first material released by LvxCælis and it comes on a beautifully designed cassette.  This tape is limited to 333 hand-numbered copies and I have #319.  The booklet is professionally printed and it is simply beautiful to look through.  It comes with full printed lyrics, but all the other imagery and print have that sort of old and broken feel of ancient books.  The cassette itself is professionally printed and red, probably signifying blood. A very well done aesthetic overall.

The music within is fairly well written. I think the band still has some work to do, but they are definitely following in the footsteps of bands like Ondskapt, Deathspell Omega, and many other bands evoking that dark ritualistic feel to their music.  LvxCælis doesn't always accomplish this effect, but with songs like "Under the Nine Rays of Light" they certainly succeed.  This is probably the strongest song on the entire demo.  "I've Seen the Light" is also extremely good with an awesome opening riff, but after this the demo is somewhat downhill for me.  "Summoning Ceremony" sounds like a typical styled South American Black Metal song.  This is something I would expect from that region of the world.  It is heavily rooted in Thrash and the Brazilian style.  While I do like that stuff sometimes, it doesn't mesh well with the first two tracks, so it really interrupted my immersion into this demo.  This is more detrimental when you're trying to develop that ritualistic experience.  It makes me think this was probably a very early song the band composed.  "Come Forth from the Abyss" tries to put the listener back into that state of mind, but it came across as just being an alright song and not as well developed as the first two.  "Putrefactio" is just noise with vocal effects going on and actually makes for a great closing concept for the demo.  The vocals are wonderful on this.  They have a huge amount of "echo" effect on them, but it works so well with the music that it makes it feel more haunting and vile.

The production quality will be the biggest turn off for listeners.  This basically sounds like they recorded a band rehearsal rather than recording an actual demo.  Everything is extremely noisy and everything just blends together in the mix.  You really have to want to hear what this band was doing, like me, to get behind what they are playing. Even then that might not be enough.  In the end it just comes across as extremely raw Black Metal.

Ultimately I don't think I would have been very convinced by this demo.  I think this band has great ideas and a potential to do great things if they focus on generating a cohesive concept for an entire album.  If they up the production value a little then their ideas will not be marred by the poor production quality.  Their ideas are good enough to shine, but first they need to log some serious studio time and show what they are really capable of.

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