Genre: Symphonic/Black/Pagan
Country: Belgium
Label: Massacre Records
Year: 2015

After almost 10 years of absence and having created an empty space amongst their fans worldwide, the Belgians return out from nowhere to give us an answer on what they’re currently doing.

We left them with Rubicon back in 2006 so i guess that the expectations for a new release grew higher for the die hard fans of the band. I personally consider myself one of them and i was expecting this release for some time now.
The band, since the release of 1998s magnificent Fatherland (they will turn 30 years old in 3 years!), have moved in a totally different path. They left the most aggressive and noisy sound of the 90s, the anti religious and destructive lyrics and approached a more melodic sound that is really hard to explain. Their latest works have things in common with the predecessors.
The symphonic elements are everywhere and mix perfectly with the band, the black metal leads, the blast beats, the never ending double bass patterns from Walter (i love his drumming!) and Gunther’s narrative voice that unravels stories from the lyrics that are so well written and fit perfectly with each melodic moment on the record. It’s like watching a film or reading one of Tolkien’s books, where everything is described in great detail. The record is covered by a soundtrack type of veil, like the 3 previous ones.

The album begins with an orchestral intro, as they have used us to on their latest releases and “Carthago Delenda Est” (for which there was a “sneak peak” version on the internet) follows in. As i already mentioned, there are too many musical elements that make this album hard to describe musically. Also perhaps for some people, the first couple of listenings might be weird because of that since this album doesn’t seem to follow a specific path. Yes, they do have blastbeats, yes they do have double bass, yes they do have an orchestra very well orchestrated, yes they do have black metal leads but it’s hard to categorize this release. Personally speaking, i always thought that in their previous works they had a more clear approach on what they wanted to play. Maybe they are just experimenting more on this album and they want to distance themselves from the past. In any case, the result is good even though a little bit weird at some times. The album ends with a classic melodic little bit of melancholic outro like in the previous albums.

The tracks i personally like are: “Under the sign of Lagos”, “Apostata”, “Mind Unconquered”, “Frankenland”. One thing that bothered me a little bit was the vocals sound and the mix. The first one, just sounds out of “mix” in some tracks and you need to listen to the album a couple of times to get used to the second one (the mix).

If you really liked “Rubicon”, then this album is the one for you! A nice release in overall, maybe not in the same level as the previous ones but without leaving the audience unsatisfied. Let’s see where they’re going to lead us in their upcoming releases that i hope they will continue to work on.

4,5 / 6