Ars Veneficium

Album Title: 
The Abyss
Release Date: 
Monday, September 29, 2014
Review Type: 

Finally! The first release of Belgian horde Ars Veneficium! All together: joepie! Why such enthusiasm? Well, actually I need to do so, because this is one of the bands Immortal Frost ProductionsSurtur is involved with, so I cannot but be positive…

No, just joking around. There is a ‘real’ reason for my ‘happiness’, because Ars Veneficium can be considered the successor of defunct Eratomania. I was very pleased with Eratomania’s demo Mental Suffocation (if you don’t believe me: check out the review which was uploaded on October 10th 2014; and if you do believe me, check out this review as well – why shouldn’t you anyway), so my expectations were quite huge. And I am not disappointed at all with this recording under the new moniker Ars Veneficium (which can be translated as ‘the art of poison-brewing’ or ‘the science of magic’). When Eratomania was put to rest, Sorath (d), Ronarg (g, music) and Surtur aka S. (v, lyrics) decided to continue under the Ars Veneficium banner; it was in July 2013. Soon after they were joined by Ketter (g) and Lava (b), though Ketter left shortly after (having played one single live gig with the band). But the leaving of their rhythm guitarist didn’t stop Ars Veneficium playing live, as well as rehearsing and writing on own material. In July 2014 they entered the WaveShape Audio studio in order to record four of their compositions, compiled as The Abyss. Evidently it gets released on band leader Surtur’s own label Immortal Frost Productions. Oh yes, once again the artwork (lay-out and design) was taken care of by Germany-based Moornebheym, known for his long-time collaboration with this Flemish label (and creating stuff for several other Ambient / Black Metal acts).

Just for your information: the EP will be released on CD in an edition of 500 copies only, but the band (without Sorath, who left shortly after the band finished the recording sessions) is currently working on their debut full length, so pay attention!

Bon, The Abyss consists of four tracks, which sound little harsher and less desolate than Eratomania’s demo material. For about twenty minutes the listener can enjoy, well, let’s call it Old School purity, the Second Wave-kind. It means a total lack on originality. Lacking of originality in combination with average or dull songs is something to ignore totally. The lack of being original, yet bringing back the essence of tradition, of what made people like me fall in love with these great tunes of aural sadism and, at the same time, pleasure, well, that deserves attention! so here we have it: Ars Veneficium! The stuff gets performed with heavy balls, I mean that this isn’t melancholic of suicidal / depressive stuff, yet it isn’t of the thrashing kind either. I would rather refer to the Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish scene anno first half of the nineties, with the very same melodic approach, the very same epic attitude, the very same grim atmospheres. And yeah, even the sound is comparable to the specific trend. Once again: because of the qualitative performance, it does not matter (at all) that there is no modern bla and bla and bla. You know, if you can’t stand it, just f***.

Or in short: with The Abyss, Ars Veneficium have created something every ‘fan’ of, let’s say, Ragnarok, Sargeist, Introitus, or even the likes of Taake, Arckanum or Enthroned, if you want to (does not sound bad at all, does it), will appreciate for sure. And despite the rough production, each single collaborator has its own proportional importance in rapport to the whole concept, done in a perfect equilibrium. And I will end with mentioning the fine symbiosis of slower, down-tuned passages with mid-tempo oriented ones, and some fierce, quasi-blasting eruptions. Or: top-material, making me impatiently craving for more to come… Dear S., I am ‘vragende partij’…