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Italian black metallers Fides Inversa's 2009 debut 'Hanc Aciem Sola Retundit Virtus (The Algolagnia Divine)' was a great piece of work. Combining the intense sound of Swedish bands like Watain and Funeral Mist with a good portion of Deathspell Omega-atonal riffs created a good consistent offering highly recommended for anyone who does not automatically shun by the name of said influences.
Five years later the bands sophomore disc 'Mysterium Tremendum Et Fascinas' (The Mystery of Dread and Fascination), with the tracks colourfully titled I-VII, sees progression in quite a different direction. Apart from the Erik Danielsson-like articulated screaming/wheezing vocals, the Swedish influences are almost gone, surfacing in a few passages only e.g. in III were Svartsyn springs to mind.
The atonal Deathspell Omega-guitar work is more prominent and somewhat surprisingly there are plenty of Inquisition-styled dissonant riffs throughout the album. The first minutes of VI is a perfect example of how the latter two influences work in symbiosis. Although mainly moving forth in mid-tempo, the album sees passages ranging from doom- to up-tempo, all guided by the drum work that is tight but rather unimaginative.
In theory the fusion of said influences is interesting. Unfortunately very few of the riffs and vocal lines on 'Mysterium Tremendum Et Fascinas' manage to invoke any interest at all. Most are outright boring and lack the inspiration needed, particularly as riffs and passages can drag out for minutes. Building songs in such structures demands riffs that immediately captures and never let go of the listener.
On this one, monotony settles rather quickly and the attention is lost. The only song yours truly manage to stay focused on for more than a minute or two is VI. Even the odd passages with sacral monastic singing, French horn and opera (the latter making a comeback from the debut and closes this album) drag on for too long and causes further monotony rather than breaking it.
According to the press info the band intended to represent the mystic terror and undefeatable fascination of death with this album. There is undeniably a theme in here and the album is made for listening from start to finish, but nothing that I hear makes me associate with said statement, nor do I feel dread or fascination, slightly eerie at best, but mostly bored and uninspired. The clear and airy production does not really do the trick either lacking a proper bite to raise the appearance of the music.
I agree 'Mysterium Tremendum Et Fascinas' steps outside
the traditions of the black metal genre, but where the debut contained
capturing riffs and proper songwriting, this is in equal lack of said