Infernal Angels

Album Title: 
Shrine Of Black Fire
Release Date: 
Friday, November 24, 2023
Review Type: 

Country (for what it’s worth): Italy

Members: Xes (vocals), Nekroshadow (guitars), Apsychos (guitars) and new (on this recording) members Postmortem (drums) and Asdraeth (bass guitars)

Engineering / mix / mastering: Christian d’Onofrio (Atrocity Exhibition Studio)

Artwork: Zizi Amri (cover artwork) / Apsychos (layout & design; adjusted by WrathDesign)

Type: CD (+ 16-page booklet) & vinyl (black & splatter)

Duration: 43:56

Genre: fast & aggressive Occult Black Metal


Introduction: This Italian band, formed by Massimo ‘Xes’ Chiarelli, and additionally consisting of experimented musicians (formerly or currently active in e.g. Byblis, Annata Nera, Devoid Of Thought, Boa or Umbelicus Necis), exists for more than two decades, in the meantime, and they have recorded and released six full-lengths until now. This review deals with that last album, which sees the unlight via Belgium’s finest Immortal Frost Productions.

Content: after an ominous introduction, a ritualistic ceremony called Abyss Oath, and which features guest spells by Sara Ballini and Michael W. Ford (!), Infernal Angels bring a traditional, strongly Second Wave inspired form of technically well-crafted and heavily-rhythmic Black Metal with a touch of Scandinavian grandeur. Hereby I am remorselessly referring to the glorious era of the Nineties. A first thing that strikes me is the vocal timbre. The voice of Xes is more than an ‘average’ scream, not being high-pitched or yelling, yet rather throaty and barbaric in nature. This tongue drenches the whole in a veil of mystic, occult and mysterious grandeur. Besides, there is a certain amount of variation within these screams (with grunting and growling, whispering, throat-sing-alike, and other variations), spitting on monotony and boredom, yet pulling out intrigue and awe; bleakness and horror as well.

The vast majority of the hymns have a certain melodious content, yet above all they represent sonic terror and intolerance. Shrine Of Black Fire stands for a fierce, eruptive monument of extreme aural perfidiousness, build around violent drum-blasts, mesmeric yet immense guitar-lines, down-earthed basses and sharp leads. At the same time, this experience is based on traditional techniques, yet spiced up with complex and dissonant elements. Once in a while, however, things turn slower and more integer, although those passages are just small intermezzos of hypnosis, acting like an omen for more abomination to come. Fire As Breath is such example, including a couple of slower (read: mid-tempo) fragments and semi-acoustic chapters. Yet don’t be mistaken, for it’s just a cover to hide its true aim, like an arrogant wolf in sheep’s clothing. As said, the majority of Shrine Of Black Fire’s content does not take prisoners.

Conclusion: this latest Infernal Angels album, Shrine Of Black Fire, might be their most advanced, dramatic and malicious effort to date. The despicable message behind these crude rituals goes well with the sharp, powerful production, for the gigantesque sound strengthens the unscrupulous profanity, which this album stands for. No mercy beyond the gateway to eternal purification…