Review Summary: Slower Black Metal without the typical instruments, but still manages to be atmospheric.
Profanum Aeternum: Eminence of Satanic Imperial Art is an album written in the desolate land of Poland. The band chose not to use several instruments typical to black metal, but opted for a more non-orthodox approach. This is the band's second album, and the music was composed between 1994 and 1996, but released in 1997.
The album, overall, is slow-paced, almost doom-metal like. This can be compared to the speed in Limbonic Art's "Moon In the Scorpio" album, where the sound is intended to soothe the listener. There are only a few parts that contain fast-paced drumming, but the other instruments keep the same pace, almost constant , throughout. The songs also leave a lot of room for fresh air, there are several interludes in-between the songs and instrumental parts to give a break from the vocals.
When listening to this album, the thoughts that plague my brain are those concerning memories in life that inflict pain amongst us, but are not remembered often. These forgotten memories, when remembered, bring feelings of extreme sadness, suffering, horror, and an incredible loss of senses. What is the most sorrowful from these memories is the fact that they cannot be changed; the past is done and set in stone, and they are destined to live in our minds forever. They live in our subconscious silently, and while their presence does not necessarily bring ominous thoughts, when they are remembered they bring forth these unavoidable descriptions. While we can learn to accept negative outcomes in the past, it is not always possible to overcome them, and not all of them end so swiftly.
Why is such an album compared to painful memories? Profanum Aeternum: Eminence of Satanic Imperial Art is able to capture these thoughts and feelings and blend them into 33 minutes of agony. When these elements are combined, they bring forth five songs that contain dynamic structures, but all with a common goal: symphony, misery and melancholy. The songs are able to change repeatedly from one style to the next, quite fluently by the way, and then return to the previous after a while.
The changes are primarily moved by the irregular keyboard and synthesizer tracks. The songs begin gradually, incorporating instrumental parts and slowly progressing to the vocals and main parts of the songs. "The Descent Into Medieval Darkness" begins in this manner, and then continues to blow the listener into a cursed abyss of despair, the piano is one of the main causes for this reaction, but really it is the combination of all the
instruments and vocals that make this song inflict the reaction that it does. The song starts with a very long keyboard and synthesizer solo, with the main melody for the song, and at about 1:10 the vocals take the listener into the world of the forgotten memories. It is not too long before the main melody changes completely, but then the song returns to a part very similar to the beginning. Then, it transforms into a different song, filled with psychedelic vocals in the background. It then progresses into a faster part that has "blast beats",but the vocals and keyboards continue the slow but steady speed they had throughout the song. It then returns to the main melody present at the start.
"Conquering The Highest Of The Thrones In Universe" is a purely instrumental track, lasting 5 minutes. It is very similar to the rest of the album, however, since the vocals are not the main instrument in the album. "The Serpent Crown" also has erratic changes from time to time, and more of the almost orgasmic piano tunes. The song is also filled with several keyboard tracks overlapped with each other.
Overall the album has satisfied me quite a lot. It has an excellent production, every sound can be well heard and understood, but this is by no means an easy listen. The vocals are raspy, with a feeling of prolonged torture and depression. They are at the perfect volume in the mixing; not too loud to be annoying and attract the spotlight, but not completely overwhelmed by the instruments either. They are just perfect for this type of music. The keyboard also does an excellent job at imitating different sounds and instruments, this is what makes the album stand out from its contemporaries. This album is unique in the sense that it does not need guitars to create a symphonic black metal album. It may not be an aggressive album, but it is sure to please fans of slower, more atmospheric and instrumental metal.