Review Summary: Renewed blasphemies
Daniel Rosten, aka Arioch, is a well-known figure of the European black metal circuit, being the founder, multi-instrumentalist and singer of the Swedish blasphemers Funeral Mist and also frontman, since 2004, of the black metal legends Marduk. Formed in 1993, Funeral Mist had until 2018 in its repertoire, two full-length albums, three demos, one EP and a compilation boxset, which seems blatantly little for a twenty-five year career. However this latent lack of productivity and more mainstream exposure also helped to build a cult status around the band, that reached its peak with the band's debut Salvation
that had a strong impact on the underground black metal community, being considered by many Funeral Mist's best work and one of the most emblematic black metal releases of the early '00s.
Nine years past Maranatha
, the band's sophomore, Funeral Mist finally releases the long awaited third album Hekatomb
. The question that seemed most pertinent was whether Arioch would keep the hyperactive, chaotic, heretical style of the previous albums, or whether he would step forward into a new blasphemous aesthetic.
It doesn't take long to realize where the answer lies. Since the very first moments of "In Nomine Domini", the album's opener, we sense a new creature in the darkness. Its ominous sinister intro unconsciously impels us to take a deep breath before falling into infernal turmoil. These early moments are the best introduction we could hope for, as they perfectly synthesize Hekatomb's
aesthetic, clearly more polished than on previous albums. This polished darkness is ever-present, but it's also misleading, since its main function is to make the poisoned package more attractive to the senses, such as Pied Piper of Hamelin. Make no mistake, despite its more mature and cerebral approach, Hekatomb
keeps the profane narrative of previous works intact, as we can confirm in "Naught but Death" through its ritualistic chanting or in the disrespectful and blasphemous "Cockatrice", which is easily one of the best songs the band has ever recorded. And since I'm individualizing, "Hosanna" also deserves special mention considering it's probably the maximum exponent of this fresh perspective, due to its addictively seductive chorus.
mirrors Arioch's renewed black metal aesthetic in all its disturbing splendor and will be remembered as one of the most interesting black metal albums of 2018.