The term "throwback," in relation to metal, might mean that a band is dipping into the beginnings of heavy metal -- just about fifty years or so. The Infernal Sea, however, is a throwback act of a much higher magnitude: their upcoming album Negotium Crusis hurls listeners into a dark and savage version of the Middle Ages, charting the nefarious deeds of the Knights Templar at a time when religious hysteria ruled, crusades rampaged, and torture devices came with funny faces on them. Negotium Crucis's cruel and lacerating mixture of black metal and rock 'n' roll turns the screws in all manner of dark, enjoyable ways, which you can experience now ahead of the album's Friday release.

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I can't say I'm too familiar with the Knights Templar, but Negotium Crusis provides a sonic starting point for your imagination: the haughty, sneering rasps of vocalist 'DL' drip with fanatical insanity as the serrated guitars carry out their orders. This sadistic zeal is propelled forward by drums that know no quarter, with exactingly brutal fills: like a needle under a fingernail, a brief volley of isolated kick drum hits here and there makes all the difference.

Chiefly reveling in a bare-bones black metal sound, there's rarely any bells and whistles tacked on to distract. The album sits in a sonic sweet spot where clarity and destructive potential are exquisitely balanced, bringing out the sharp and pointy bits of the band's sound while retaining full-bodied impact. There's much more than by-the-numbers black metal going on in the songwriting, but it doesn't disturb the raw, violent appeal of that classic sound.

In Latin, Negotium Crucis means "business of the cross," and a grim, wicked business it is indeed: even as the album's concept explores the absolute worst of humanity's potential, the hard rock elements offer copious experimentation and killer grooves amongst the high-intensity black metal. This juxtaposition is what makes it appealing, of course, so travel back a millennium and make sure to dress appropriately.

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Negotium Crucis releases September 18th via Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings.

Regarding Negotium Crucis, vocalist DL says:

'Negotium Crucis' captures the raw essence of The Infernal Sea, stripped back sonically and in its production values, it's an experimental album that bridges the gap between 'The Great Mortality' and 'Agents of Satan' EP. We decided to move away from the polished sound of previous efforts, in an attempt to capture the rawness of our live performance and adopt a more 'Black 'n' Roll attitude when it came to song arrangements.

This album was challenging, it required us to push ourselves as musicians, to break out of our comfort zone and create something that was not only visceral and savage, but an album that wasn't afraid to be progressive or melodic. We are proud of what we have achieved with 'Negotium Crucis', it represents The Infernal Sea in 2020.


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