Review Summary: Rock out with your cock out.
I have a habit of dismissing albums and bands based on superficialities. When music is coming out at a rate thousands of times faster than I can hear it, a Latin band name and a black-and-white cover adorned with a skeleton doesn't really have me exclaiming, “I bet there's something novel being done here”. It was by sheer chance that I happened to stalk Invictus Production's Bandcamp page and gave The Crowning Quietus
' title-track a gander, and since then I've been kicking myself, realising that I had an advanced copy of this thing for a fucking month.
Better late than never, I guess. Inconcessus Lux Lucis are essentially the bastard child of Motörhead
and Iron Maiden
, if that child developed an unhealthy fixation with the occult. Every single track on their latest album is filled to the brim with riffs that invoke the heavy metal giants of the '80s, as well as those of black metal's second wave. The marriage of these styles has been done before, obviously, but seldom have I heard it pulled off with such poise. There is no gimmicky to-and-fro; each riff, despite their varied lineage, leads into the next as though Motörhead and Darkthrone
shared some kind of kinship that they weren't even aware of. All the while, Inconcessus deliver everything with the kind of zeal that propelled their Norwegian likeness into the elite echelons of the underground that immortalised them.
So what separates them from the legions of acts that venerate the past" First and foremost, Inconcessus are keen to reshape the template they're given, not necessarily as far as technique is concerned, but more so in terms of presentation and form. Their penchant for longer compositions that steadily evolve and build to a climax is apparent during the final three tracks. As such, the second half of the album feels like a journey, adamantly steering clear of rock opera's pomposity as well as the pretence of prog along the way. Nevertheless, these guys do wear their influences on their sleeves. There's even a sense of beer-swilled catharsis during the latter-half of closer “Fever Upon The Firmament” which – at the risk of forfeiting what metal cred I have left at this point – channels Iron Maiden so well that it may even be a blackened cover of some Bruce and co. track that I've forgotten I'd heard.
Secondly and more importantly, these guys are fun
. Despite the apparent seriousness and blackened style, there's nothing too austere about the atmosphere they conjure. Instead, you simply feel as though you're in the same room as them, shoulder-to-shoulder with like-minded outcasts and practically leaning on the stage. Producer Tore Stjerna's work behind the console is priceless in this respect. The tightness of the performances is on full display thanks to an overall sound that is clear, punchy and dynamic, but also bare and visceral; as such, the musicianship can be dissected and enjoyed at the same time. Malphas' melodic solos are fit for a stadium without being flashy, whilst his rhythm work is fevered, if not infectious enough in its galloping to keep one enthralled, second-by-second.
A jack of all trades it would seem, Malphas also handles vocals and – but for a smattering of spoken word here and there – sticks to a throaty howl. Perhaps this is why everything congeals together so well, as most of the instrumentals are written along the same thought patterns, by the same person. Of course, bands dominated by a single member can churn out some rather stilted material, so it's worth noting any creative delegation on the part of Baal, the bassist. Whatever chemistry the two happen to have, it's paying dividends. In some ways, The Crowning Quietus
trumps its ancestors, melding aesthetics as if they were simply meant to be. That alone amounts to quite a bit, but it's the irreverent sense of joy that will keep me coming back to this thing. Some bands just get it
, and Inconcessus Lux Lucis are one in a million.