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Reverorum ib Malacht and Black Metal Excess as Devotion

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Man has feared the dark since before time was time, but religion made man fear the darkness within. The Catholic dogma owns the salvation of the heavens, the Earth, and the punishing shadow of Hell. For something so reviled as Christian and Catholic belief in the world of black metal, the celebration of dogma’s nightmarish half is hailed as a blasphemous act. Something against the Christian ideal and a perceived triumph against the righteous. In all reality, especially to a lay person, Catholicism is terrifying, a total submission of one’s self, deeds, and immortal soul to a grand judge and ruler of the universe. This is not just salvation, it is repentance, guilt, and fear. Eternal surrender.

There are few who accept and represent the dogma as a whole within the lens of black metal. It is an uphill battle in a war tilted toward the mindless blasphemer. “Reverorum ib Malacht is Roman Catholic Black Metal,” member Emil Lundin told me in an interview I conducted with him (and other members of the band) last year. “As such, Malacht is too much. No limits, all in, more is more.”

The embodiment of overstimulation and overwhelming, their music is an amorphous, writhing mass of terror sounds phasing in and out of an assumed black metal form. With each new chapter in the band’s “post-conversion” career [or everything that follows Urkaos], Reverorum ib Malacht sinks further and further into excess, into terror and the devotion which, in Catholicism, goes hand in hand with it. The Trinity of De Mysteriis dom Christi was the beginnings of a transformation, the band zeroing in on individual elements of their music (ambiance, aggression, and atmosphere) and dismantling them in search of future knowledge. Last year’s Ter Agios Numini‘s complete denial of musical practice and approach was transformative, a nightmare collage of shrieking sound and spiritual pulsations. It felt like a cocoon, a place in which the essences found in its tri-predecessor could disintegrate and form a new body all its own.

From the chrysalis emerges the terrifying, formidable Im Ra Summum Soveris Seris Vas Innoble. Suddenly, everything falls into place, and Reverorum ib Malacht assumes its truest form, fully assuming the band’s self-imbued stylistic conceit. Their most “black metal-oriented” album in years, Im Ra… is imposing, a nodding beast of powerful, swaying movements and echoic presence. Each element within announces itself with an unprecedented clarity, building upon itself to overwhelming elevation. The album itself can, at times, be recognized as black metal, partly due to the transubstantiation of older guitar tracks from the pre-conversion era (read as: Dödfödd, at least most likely), as well as Lundin’s exceedingly heavy drum approach, but Malacht’s seven heads bury any opportunity to be defined under any qualifier other than their own. This is the “[n]o limits, all in, more is more” to which Lundin alluded last year. This is the terrifying music of devotion and submission.

Reverorum ib Malacht is Roman Catholic Black Metal.

Im Ra Distare Summum Soveris Seris Vas Innoble will be released by AnnapurnA on May 11 (with an American release in mid-June). Listen to an exclusive stream of “Etiam si omnes, ego non” below.

Follow Reverorum ib Malacht on Facebook and Bandcamp.

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