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Mysterium Tremendum & Fascinans

W.T.C. Productions (2014)
Rating: 8.5/10

How about a nice, violent dose of grating black metal before bed-time? Fides Inversa is another hideous bunch of extreme metallers; hailing from Rome, Italy, this ghoulish team is comprised of two members, those two being vocalist / drummer Omega A.D. and guitarist / bassist Void A.D.

This stonking lump of vociferous black metal is the band’s first since 2009’s Hanc Aciem Sola Retundit Virtus (The Algolagnia Divine) debut, so in a sense it feels like I’m reviewing a whole new chapter in the life of this wicked twosome.

We basically get seven tracks numbered ‘I’ through ‘VII’, which makes sense. Each of these scathing, audible chapters of the nefarious welcomes a marrying of basic black metal aesthetics with darker, melodic passages and hints of the unorthodox. At its slowest motion Fides Inversa is a truly demonic wonder, built upon the hoarse vocal cries of Omega A.D. and a foundation of pensive, grating, pallid guitar chords which tumble ominously alongside the mid-tempo drums. However, at their most vigorous the band is just as evil; a snarling wreckage of black smoke harnessing ruin and belching satanic imagery.

Of all the tracks on offer, it is ‘III’ which showcases the slower structures best; a truly mesmerising mantra of hate and grim passion to the point of monumental arrogance within the framework of melancholy and general satanic doom. And yet with a flick of the switch, Fides Inversa ups the tempo to serve up the gnashing, sneering anarchy of ‘IV’ with its racing percussion and sordid bass energy. All the while the vocals sit comfortably, exhibiting an eerie calmness within the tumult. Coming on leaps and bounds since their debut outing, Fides Inversa is now an ominous force oozing over the horizon and casting long shadows to blot out the light.

The opening track (‘I’) has an almost Slayer-like introduction – a thunderous plod and simmering, haunting hiss – before ‘II’ takes a grip and brings wintry gloom upon the ears via pensive drum rattles which eventually spring into an avalanche accompanying barbed chords and that despicable sneer. Eventually we come to realise that while Fides Inversa are very much a true black metal entity, it’s one of so many layers that by the time ‘V’ has been conjured up by its icy whispers and perpetual chimes of melancholy, this is something creating a pitch-black field of its own.

Often brooding in its presence, this sophomore opus has transformed this duo into a major force to be reckoned with and one which has effortlessly carved out a set of dominant sculptures. This culminates in the riveting ‘VI’ with its jarring guitar twists plus speed, and ‘VII’ that revels in its perverse streak of utterly seething guitar chords and percussive arrogance.

First and foremost this is a record which proves that not all deathly, foreboding black metal needs to be ultra-fast because when these guys slow down to a doom-laden nod, suddenly black metal becomes a far greater weapon against the holy light. With a pungent odour of dank about it, Mysterium Tremendum & Fascinans leaves the listener smothered in darkness and in anticipation of slow death.

Neil Arnold

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