Album Title: 
Krew Za Krew
Release Date: 
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Review Type: 

Once in a while, you just get blown away by a (new) release that offers something unique, promising, magnificent. Well, did you have the opportunity to enjoy Tacent Semitae, the 2016 debut by international act Adaestuo? Indeed, that’s what I mean with getting blown away. It isn’t just Black Metal that this trio performs. This goes way beyond the ‘orthodox’ borders of that mighty muSICKal style called Black Metal!

Enter 2018. Two years after that first mini-album, the trio VJS (U.S., instruments; known from his activities in acts like Nightbringer, Demoncy, ex-Kult Of Azazel, ex-Goreaphobia, and currently also active in Sargeist (!)), P.E. Packain (Finland, instruments; active in Vitsaus, and former member of notorious acts like Cornigr, Horna, Sargeist, Saturnian Mist a.o.), and Hekte Zaren (Poland - but she lived in Belgium, hail!, for quite a while - all vocals; currently or formerly active in e.g. Hoarfrost, Ars Magna Umbrae, Hexenwolf, Norss or AmortE) returns with a first full length album, once again released, like the debut, via Germany’s W.T.C. Productions. It was released on compact disc, vinyl and digitally. The material was recorded at the Dirge Forge studio, assisted in Brussels by former Enthroned frontman Phorgath, and with mixing assistance of Odem Arcarum’s Michael Zech (who worked with bands like The Ruins Of Beverast, Secrets Of The Moon (which he is / was part of), Triptykon, Dark Fortress and many more).

Krew Za Krew (‘blood for blood’) brings fifty minutes in the vein – and thank the Dark Goddess for this – of Tacent Semitae. Note taken from the label: ‘if Tacent Semitae ripped asunder the thin veil between the flesh and the Otherside, then with Krew Za Krew do Adaestuo rein [sic] as monarchs within that Otherside. In this fleshly existence, this Planet Earth, these sorcerers rule supreme – behold the sinister spell of Krew Za Krew’. Or: ‘Krew Za Krew is a transcendental monument, threaded together like a fever dream collapsing in on itself, expanding outward and downward simultaneously’. Is says a lot, does it not!

The album starts with Red Moon, which initially has an Oriental flair. Hallucinogenic sitar-sounds are soon joined by ritual drums and instrumental orchestration, and hypnotising clean vocals with an Arab identity in some way. And pretty soon, this sort of explodes in a harsh experience, with fast drum beats, raw guitars and those icy, high-pitched screams of my dearest Hekte Zaren. Orchestral passages join in, and the whole stands for a complex, full, monumental aural journey that suffocates and, at the same time, begs for more. Waw, what an intriguing opening track.

Transcendental (the shortest piece on this album) initially brings forth some horrifying screams, genre Diamanda Galas, with creepy string-raping and eerie background sounds. A symphony for horror, an industrial definition of ominous madness. Blackened Noise à la Enbilulugugal let’s say…

With Monument, we enter the hall of Black Metal majesty. Though, those ultra-slow opening riffs are so doomy. That first minutes alone (the track lasts for more than ten minutes) is breathing Doom, with that gloomy ‘Metal Of Death’ attitude at the one hand, and a technical and epic approach at the other. It reminds me of the impressive Post-Black majesty of the first Thorns album. But hey, that is about the first minute, so there is much more yet to come. Suddenly, all Hell breaks loose, and in a Cornigr / Sargeist / (and why not) Demoncy alike vein, all registers of ‘Evil’ Black Metal are unleashed. Fast, sharp, raw-edged and merciless, this is sonic intolerance from the sulphuric pits of the Underworlds. And then those vocals, acid-spitting, with even some cleaner, ritualistic chants, darkening the militant arsenal of furious strings and blasting drum patterns… At about three minutes and a half, everything fades away, morphing into an orchestral passage, almost sacral, evolving into another doomy orchestration, filled with anger, despair and malignancy. Another ambient passage around five minutes, with haunting voices and tribal percussion, before exploding once more in fire and fury – and so on, and so on…

Subterranean Fire opens like a haunting spell, a morbid ritual, here too permanently evolving and transforming. It’s like a mystic and mysterious invocation in the vein of, well, what about a hybrid of Aghast and Corona Barathri, summoning dark spirits, sacrificing the pure, the unborn…

Another form of evocative grandeur is entitled Death Transition. Spooky, almost astral synths, epic keyboards and monolithic drum patterns, compiled through many layers, and joined by those wretched growls of Adaestuo’s fabulous singer, create an impenetrable web, an asphyxiating mist with a bombastic performance. This is a mostly obscure approach of Dark Ambient / Drone, both meditative and horrifying.

Escaine is a gloomy Drone-Industrial piece, with machinal / mechanical loops, metallic percussion, spooky voices and creepy synth lines. It is a perfect introduction to Shadow Pilgrimage, which returns, once again, to the most furious tradition of somewhat Opera IX-alike Black Terror Metal. It’s a very dynamic piece, with grotesque yet majestic guitar leads, once again with so many levels and layers. And what a grand rhythm section, simply fabulous bass lines, rhythm guitars and drum patterns. The energy of Shadow Pilgrimage is whipping, chasing, provoking, arousing from beginning till end. What a great six + minutes!

The title track brings a very claustrophobic form of Droning Ambient, little Aghast alike, and summoning the most evil unphysical entities from beneath the borderless abyss. Floating, spacelike, even dreamy (pay attention: nightmares are dreams too!), Krew Za Krew obtests…

The album ends with the instrumental piece Hurmeen Tahrima, which opens in a very obscure, energetic and martial way. Growing stronger and more intense, overwhelming, like a war horde marching forward towards the battlefield. With a Lovecraftian heaviness, this grande finale seals a journey through unknown dimensions of spiritual worlds. Enter, and never leave again…

There is a lot to discover, and uncover, on Krew Za Krew, and it might be disturbing from time to time. Occult Black Metal, Ritual Drone, industrialised Dark Ambient and even elements from Noise and Metal Of Death pass the review. But hey, the result is oh so cohesive, actually, and the whole album must be seen as one megalithic opus. I recommend listening before buying / stealing, but I cannot but conclude with: highly recommended!!!

Thank you, World Terror Committee and Adaestuo, for another mental and aural orgasm… absolutely one of 2018’s highlights!!!