Ars Macabra – III


Review by Jason Guest

Odium Records

Making black metal since 1998, Italy’s Ars Macabra have seen their fair share of line-up changes with only guitarist Sathor weathering the storm since day one. Released in January 2013, the band’s third album, III, sees the band at their best.  Ten tracks and not one below par, the band has come a long way since 2007’s Hate Induced Trance, which, while still a good album, III leaves it twitching in the corner.

Across the whole album, Sathor’s guitar work is never dull, never uninteresting, and is never allowed to rest upon a clichéd riff or exhausted phrase. Instead, Sathor colours his dark destructive lines with dissonant and discordant chords and melodies to add a sharp, serrated edge to the already-impressive tracks. Adranor’s bass, fortunately for us all, is high in the mix. His bass lines, heavy and hulking in texture and tone, combine melody with rhythmic drive to bridge the void between the guitar and the drums to imbue the bottom end with a savage substance. Atum’s drum work is exceptional; his lines tailored to the needs of each track and infused with the ferocious creativity required of them. And Nekrom’s vocals bear an undeniable conviction, his strategic approach in choosing the precise moment to deliver every syllable as sophisticated as the song-craft on display across the whole album.

From the furious rabidity of ‘Cursed Paradigm’ through to closer ‘With The Fires Of Titan’, Ars Macabra breathe fire into its every aspect. Brutal, black, and unforgiving, there is no respite. Unremitting and unyielding throughout, the band are constantly pushing deeper into near-chaotic levels of intensity that are as beautifully contrived as they are texturally rich. Shifting between the blasting and the atmospheric and the melodic with consummate ease and such fluidity, the world contained within III is a black and beguiling beast that simultaneously delights and devours its prey. With such an accomplished work in their collective hands, let’s hope that this line-up remains in place and brings us more of this in the very near future.

Ars Macabra - III8 out of 10

Ed: Read Jason’s interview with guitarist Sathor here.

Track listing:

  1. Cursed Paradigm
  2. Fire Of Seraphim
  3. Cerum Luciferi
  4. Illuminati
  5. Ubique Daemon Ubique Deus
  6. Panpsychic Khaos
  7. Deneb (Alpha Cygni)
  8. Thankatos Projection
  9. Manifestation Of The Curse
  10. With The Fires Of Titan