Black Mass – Eleutherios

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Label: Independent / Self-released

Oh, what glorious blasphemies have been unleashed here. With these sixteen minutes of sonic ritual, Black Mass present a true offering of darkness and filth; the kind of record that is felt just as much as it is heard, that rises from the blackest depths of the mind and soul to make itself known in all its unholy glory. Eleutherios may roughly translate as “The Liberator”, but the liberation here is from life itself – the mix of black, doom, death, grind, and noise here is lethal and potent, focused in such a way that the violence of it becomes transcendent and enlightening. “Do you really think you’re making a difference?” asks the opening sample of “Nihilum Livertatum Perveniat”, and from then on the listener is faced with that uncomfortable question. Yet for all that, Eleutherios is thrilling, and hugely satisfying despite its short running time.

All of which might suggest that Eleutherios is a difficult or progressive/regressive listen, in the way that, say, Portal or Antediluvian can be. But it is much to the bands credit that the EP has an almost accessible edge to it, with strong riffs and songs that stay structured and coherent even when the band change direction or unleash the full extent of their brutality. Sure, your typical mainstream metal fan may balk at what is offered, but those who dwell in the extremities of the underground will find much to feast upon here.

The tone throughout is of utter darkness, sounding hugely threatening, and dangerous on a moral or spiritual level, as a black mass should be. The doom metal here is very much at the extreme end, full of monstrously heavy guitars and bellowed vocals, with a gloriously dirty production to match, like an underground version of the classic Autopsy sound. When the band play at speed, as they do for much of the title track, the sense of energy is apparent, and the songs race forward, destroying all in their path. The slower sections are delightfully crushing, full of menace and threat, and the use of noise – as on middle track “Void Cult Initiate”, which is pure noise and atmosphere – adds something extra to the esoteric, other-worldly air to the EP. It’s hugely unsettling, and incredibly effective, especially with the way it is used for the closing moments of “Rites Of Desquamation”.

But the most impressive achievement of this EP is the way that it draws you in, wrapping its tendrils of darkness around you and refusing to let you go. There are plenty of immediate thrills on offer, with each song offering excellent riffs and movements, but what sets Black Mass apart from their peers is the malevolent atmosphere. It’s the kind of sound that simply cannot be faked. The well of darkness that has been tapped in to on these songs is a glorious thing to behold, and helps ensure that you will keep coming back for more. The artwork’s pretty awesome, too.

Eleutherios is available to stream and download via Bandcamp.

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