Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tenebrae in Perpetuum

Tenebrae in Perpetuum & Krohm Split
Debemur-Morti Productions, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

Tenebrae in Perpetuum:
1. I
2. II
3. III
4. The Black Bridge
5. Toccato dalla Desacrazione
6. Sentinel Monolith

Side Krohm: ...coming eventually... maybe
Side Tenebrae in Perpetuum:

With this split some truly sad news comes to light. The Tenebrae in Perpetuum project has also been put to rest. First Beatrik and now Tenebrae in Perpetuum with no other project starring Atratus as composer on the horizon. Strangely though, you should not expect this to be new material from Tenebrae in Perpetuum. The music was composed between 2006 to 2007 and recorded in 2008. It was originally written for an entirely different project that never saw the light of day, so they've decided to finally release this lost material.

I think it definitely fits under the Tenebrae in Perpetuum moniker and has leanings of a blend between ideas found in Beatrik with the "Antico Misticismo" album. As you can imagine this makes for some really compelling material. That really chilling cold that was missing from "L'Eterno Maligno Silenzio" is ever present on these tracks. I have no idea what other project would use this material other than Tenebrae in Perpetuum, but I'm quite glad it was eventually released. The razor sharp guitars presenting an ice cold backdrop to the utterly desolate feelings of Beatrik makes for a really impressive experience. It is almost a real shame that the prior full-length didn't take this form, because I think it would have made for a more compelling product in the end. This just adds a level of bleakness that wasn't on "Antico Misticismo" if you can believe it... just listen to how "II" closes with clean guitars and terrifying screams.

I am, honestly, glad the last release ever from Tenebrae in Perpetuum wasn't "L'Eterno Maligno Silenzio". Instead, we can experience the band in all their glorious strength, rather than something that is just good. I am sad to see the projects put to an end and even more disappointed that the musician behind this art that influenced me quite a bit will likely be silent for many years to come. Perhaps stopping when you've hit the high marks is the wise decision though, outdoing some of the top material would be nearly impossible and Atratus has likely pushed this style as far as he can go in the end. Rather than force mediocrity... lets bask in the high points of his history. Drummer Vidharr is playing with another project named Chelmno now though, so it doesn't appear that his music career is over, which is good, because we need solid drummers participating in Black Metal. Vidharr has always given rise to some of the best drumming accompaniments for Beatrik and Tenebrae in Perpetuum.

Tenebrae in Perpetuum - L'Eterno Maligno Silenzio
Debemur-Morti Productions, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

1. Percepire la Luce Attraverso il Sepolcro
2. L'Eterno Maligno Silenzio
3. Dissoluzione in Preghiera
4. Incubo Rosso Cupo
5. Il Morto Cthulhu Aspetta Sognando
6. Dei Corpi Silenti
7. Rapitemi, Anime della Natura
8. Oltre i Confini Umani

It's been a few years since we've heard from the realms of Tenebrae in Perpetuum and 2009 sees the release of their latest full-length. After the incredible "Antico Misticismo" it will certainly difficult for Tenebrae in Perpetuum to outdo that release and I had really high hopes for "L'Eterno Maligno Silenzio" when I saw its release, but I have to be honest it just doesn't compete on the same level a "Antico Misticismo". This time we are treated to a rather nice digi-pak release which has interesting art all done by Atratus.

The band has also undergone some drastic changes and I imagine Atratus is too, since he's put the Beatrik project to rest shortly after "Antico Misticismo" was released. Luckily he's marching on with Tenebrae in Perpetuum, but one feature I was disappointed in was the addition of vocalist Ildanach to the roster. I have always loved Atratus' vocal approach to his own project and I feel he was always able to do it best. Ildanach is, certainly, a decent Black Metal vocalist, but that haunting reverb quality of Atratus' is nonexistent on this release and that is something I certainly do miss. The vocal quality manages to sound very good on the track "Oltre i Confini Umani" where Ildanach adopts a more mid-range tone and it really enhances the sound of the band quite a bit. Perhaps Atratus didn't have the lyrical effort in him and Ildanach did... so we are presented the music in this way.

Realistically this is not Tenebrae in Perpetuum's best release, but it is still quite a good release as far as Black Metal is concerned. There is a very heavy reliance on blending more Norwegian elements into their sound, so this release comes off as deeper Mayhem worship blended with old Gorgoroth and Dødheimsgard at certain points. With this in mind I feel Ildanach tries to cater to that fan base a bit too much by having moments where he emulates Atilla and includes some of the chanted clean vocals. Unfortunately, I'm not sure these really worked within the context of the Tenebrae in Perpetuum sound, luckily they don't dominate the vocal performance as on the track "De Mysteriis dom Sathanas".

In the end I think the album is pretty good overall, but the fact that prior to this we had a true masterpiece makes it hard for me to write about this in more than a mediocre light. It is an unfortunate circumstance, but on a good note, Tenebrae in Perpetuum weren't kidding themselves and trying to just re-make "Antico Misticismo". So, at least they opted to record some solid Black Metal, which made for an enjoyable experience overall. If you are a long time fan of Tenebrae in Perpetuum you probably won't be disappointed in this release and you will probably embrace the more intense and vicious style they opt for this time around. However, I sure miss the cold...

Tenebrae in Perpetuum/Chelmno/Near/Lorn - From the Ancient Dolomitic Forests
Self-Released, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

Tenebrae in Perpetuum:
1. Trasfigurazione
2. Under There...
3. Gaola Spirito
4. Laments from the Crevass

Side Chelmno: ...coming eventually...
Side Near: ...coming eventually...
Side Lorn: ...coming eventually...
Side Tenebrae in Perpetuum:

This is a fairly interesting release. It's a self-released four way split by already fairly well established bands. I'm actually surprised a label didn't pick this up to release. Each band has submitted one track to the effort and the tracks are relatively short, you can imagine, because this is only printed on a 7" vinyl. The gate-fold feels a little flimsy from the printing, but overall it looks like a very nice product, but it is only limited to 500 copies.

The track Tenebrae in Perpetuum submits to this split is an entirely new track, but because of the amount of bands it winds up being rather short and clocks in under four minutes. It looks like it was recorded on the heels of "Antico Misticismo" so it really is a continuation of that albums presence. It could have easily served as an eighth track on the album, so naturally, I mark this as a great track to have and I am glad I was able to secure a copy of this split for my collection. Yet another piece of music worth hearing from this vastly great project.

Tenebrae in Perpetuum - Antico Misticismo
Debemur-Morti Productions, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

1. Crepuscolo di Misticismo
2. La Soppressione delle Fedi
3. Sub Zero
4. Terrore Spirituale
5. Un Sogno Oscuro
6. Mutilaioni Celesti
7. Sconsacrato con l'Odio

This is the album I've been waiting for Tenebrae in Perpetuum to release all this time! To some degree I thought they might be able to pull something like this off based on the early setting of "Onori Funebri Rituali." However, I'm going to be honest here, there are few albums that get released over the years that audio essence of chilling cold. There's even a track on here called "Sub Zero" as if they were well aware of the freezing nature of their composition. This is another album, that I feel, is severely overlooked by the community and it really is ashame.

"Antico Misticismo" is the full package of Black Metal, with compositions being steeped in the formula of one haunting Mayhem album. Tenebrae in Perpetuum develop that style into a slightly different direction from other projects. Here the harsh production gives the guitars a razor sharp edge, but so cold that you fear frostbite will ensue. Many Black Metal bands sing of the snow and cold, but very few actually evoke that feel in their music. Tenebrae in Perpetuum have quite the layer of ice covering everything present on this album. Rather than saw away at an atmosphere like they have done previously "Antico Misticismo" endeavors to include some really heart-wrenching rhythms into the music. Sure everything is played in a violent and intense fashion, but it is so bathed in reverb that there is an entirely new approach to this atmosphere. I fear critics will say this is just more lo-fi run of the mill Black Metal, but that is because I don't think they want to bother paying attention to what is going on and dismiss it as noise. "Antico Misticismo" is a really wonderful album comprising of some of the most violent swings through a storm and the most haunting passages as we seek shelter from winter's most terrifying onslaughts.

I think this has, over time, solidified itself as my absolute favorite album from Tenebrae in Perpetuum. In fact, its one of my favorite albums ever released. The harsh beauty they are able to craft is unlike many bands out there. They evoke feelings of, terror, cold, and violence all in one breath. This is easily one of the pre-eminent releases of the year and if you are a fan of harsh and immense Black Metal, this really needs to find its way into your collection sooner than later.

Horna & Tenebrae in Perpetuum Split
Debemur-Morti Productions, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

1. Unohdetut Kasvot, Unohdettu Ääni
Tenebrae in Perpetuum:
2. Un Sogno Oscuro

Side Horna: ...coming eventually...
Side Tenebrae in Perpetuum:

Perhaps after a couple years it was time to show that Tenebrae in Perpetuum weren't completely gone from the world. So, in the interim they took a song recorded in 2004 and put it on this split with Horna. This comes on 7" vinyl and is printed on a gatefold sleeve which is quite nice. Debemur-Morti, as usual, maintain their high quality productions. I'm sure this is limited to a certain amount of copies, but no limitation is reference on the booklet or disc anywhere.

Tenebrae in Perpetuum's track comes at a much needed time when we were just beginning to wonder if the project was still active. After such an incredible full-length I was looking forward to hearing what was in store for us next. Its kind of incredible how quickly the band pushes their sound in such a short amount of time. "Un Sogno Oscuro" is an incredible track capturing all the essence of violence and darkness that we hoped would be the logical evolution of "Onori Funebri Rituali". If a new full-length from Tenebrae in Perpetuum is imminent than it will likely be quite the immense release. I'm looking forward to new material more than ever now. They've really nailed that cohesive blend between the haunting and violent nature of their music. I think we have something truly incredible waiting in the winds of the future.

Tenebrae in Perpetuum - Onori Funebri Rituali
Serpens Caput Productions, 2003
Genre: Black Metal

1. Onori Funebri Rituali
2. Al di lá della Nebbia
3. Verso l'Apocalisse
4. Oscure Presenze
5. Anime Silenziose
6. Delirio Nella Cripta
7. Quegli Occhi
8. Gli Abissi di Pisorno
9. Nero Dominio

Here it is, we are finally treated to the first full-length from this incredible Italian project. I remember my friend, Noel, showing me this band... now that I think about it this is probably where I first heard them. He was buying music at complete random from distros to see if he could hit upon something really good and this wound up being something he picked up. I don't have the original vinyl LP of this, my friend and I both own the 2004 CD edition pressed by BlackSeed Productions. The CD edition features the bonus track "Nero Dominio". An interesting point here is that the booklet states the cover is painted by R. Schrei Nattramn, which makes me wonder if this is the same Nattramn of Silencer fame.

In some respects I still think Tenebrae in Perpetuum is exploring the limits of their sound. Tracks are often a blend of vicious and fast Black Metal or some incredibly haunting pieces. Tenebrae in Perpetuum seem to trade off between these two styles, which works well for them, but I'm not sure they've really blended approach as one cohesive element. I do remember when this was released and I remember liking it and thinking this was a solid project, but it never seemed to capture my imagination back then. This wasn't tearing up the media either, but in 2004 I think it was being overshadowed by the likes of Deathspell Omega and Blut aus Nord as the collective community started looking at France for the next evolution of Black Metal. Meanwhile Tenebrae in Perpetuum were building ideas in a different direction that I think would eventually directly affect the evolution of Atmospheric Black Metal's current popularity. We've all listened to Tenebrae in Perpetuum, but I think it's only recently I realize how influential this band really was. Tenebrae in Perpetuum really showed how powerful raw production could evoke particular feelings and mood. Just listen to the immense "Al di lá della Nebbia" and bask in how haunting and disturbing their atmosphere is executed.

In the end I think this album is often overlooked in today's scene. I think a lot of people listen to bands that are influenced by Tenebrae in Perpetuum, but have forgotten this band in the current days. I think if you sat down and really deeply listened to this you would see how incredibly forward thinking this project was. I think it was masked a bit by the production value, but you have to realize Tenebrae in Perpetuum are really pushing the envelope of what you can do with the raw style of production and very few bands can pull this off.

Despite having the wrong photo in the video below, this is track two off of "Onori Funebri Rituali".

Tenebrae in Perpetuum - Tenebrae in Perpetuum
Serpens Caput Productions, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

1. Condannato agli Inferi
2. Tenebrae in Perpetuum
3. La Morte ha Trionfato su Piubago
4. La Fine della Vita

If you were like me and very pleased with Tenebrae in Perpetuum's demo, then you are in for quite a shock. In almost no time the band already builds their style into deeper and far more haunting realms. This is the projects first official release and it just has me wanting to demand more and more. This incredible piece is unfortunately printed on 7" vinyl only and limited to 500 hand-numbered copies. I happen to own #152 and I believe this was one of my first experiences with this project, because I got this around when it was originally released.

The opening track is so haunting and disturbing that it makes for quite a special listen. The bands title track "Tenebrae in Perpetuum" is re-recorded here in a better fashion so we can hear the real glory of that song in all its full potential. Strangely "La Morte ha Trionfato su Piubago" has a very traditional old school feel to it, but then it hits into this really great tremelo picked riff that really makes the composition shine! This release is entirely too short and I think Tenebrae in Perpetuum are performing a style that could really be enhanced with either more songs or epic track lengths. It is certainly something for them to consider for the future. Tenebrae in Perpetuum still manage to keep their sound very raw, but they do it in a very tasteful way, because it really enhances that otherworldly and haunting nature of their music.

I think this EP serves as hint of what the band can truly pull off in the studio. These tracks tell me that it is high time for the band to venture into a studio and prepare their world for a debut full-length. We probably didn't even need this interim release to tell us that... they could have skipped right to the full-length stage and not bothered to tease us with this!

Tenebrae in Perpetuum - The Black Flame's Age
Self-Released, 2001
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Black Flame's Age
2. Tenebrae in Perpetuum
3. La Morte a Sopra Me
4. Oscure Presenze

This is, now, the legendary demo from Tenebrae in Perpetuum. Unfortunately, I missed out on the original tape edition of this release.  Instead I have the 2006 vinyl 7" release from Debemur-Morti. The vinyl re-edition is really beautiful. It's a gatefold vinyl in a gritty hard stock paper, giving the release a more ancient feel which really complements the music held within. This edition is also limited to 300 hand-numbered copies and I own #160. Calling himself Atratus in this project he also launched the Beatrik project in the same year.

From the very moment you hit play on this all too short demo you realize it is obvious that this was immediately picked up to go beyond the realms of the demo tape release. Even though this is near the beginning of the new millennium, Black Metal is still producing fresh and new projects. There is nothing out there that really sounds like this and they really show how diverse raw production can be for creating very tense and amazing atmospheres. There is a rather obvious Burzum core to this project and that shines through in the higher range vocals and the closing riff sequence in "La Mort a Sopra Me", but Tenebrae in Perpetuum really think beyond being just a clone of the Norwegian sound. Tenebrae in Perpetuum is bathed in incredible layers of echo and reverb that you would think that this music shouldn't sound good or make any sense, but they really wield this sound and material to rather shocking levels of perfection. At times this approach has leaning to the mighty Paysage d'Hiver and the raw and dense production gives you a stronger feel in that direction.

Simply a monumental demo and a project I am looking forward to hearing even more material from in the future. Tenebrae in Perpetuum is really a must hear project and I think we can expect incredible things from them in the future. If you are lucky enough to track down this demo, then I highly recommend checking it out.

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