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Invictus Et Aeturnus

Doomentia (2014)
Rating: 6/10

Mixing Swedish and American death metal influences seems only natural for this relatively new Swedish extreme metal act, which formed just two years previous in 2012. The line-up on this debut consists of Tony Freed (Godhate) on vocals, Janne Björkenfjäll (Birch Mountain, Excruciate, Malfeitor, ex-Morpheus) bashing skins, and the dual axe attack of Sebastian Ramstedt (Black Trip, ex-Morpheus, ex-Necrophobic, ex-Nifelheim) and Hempa Brynolfsson (Excruciate, ex-Mykorrhiza).

The result is an interesting one at times; imagine a fiery mix of Entombed and some classic Floridian morbidity. The theme here is very much Julius Caesar and his Roman empire, and the stories are told through a dense network of pummelling rhythms, swirling solos and gruff vocal retorts.

Invictus Et Aeturnus offers up 12 heavy tunes, beginning with the slow-burning introduction ‘Sub Imperio Prolapso’, which is merely an instrumental myriad of clanking atmospherics and whining guitars. Then we’re led astray into the pulverising ‘Lingua Silentium’, which in a sense is typically Swedish with its chugging, quicksand riffs that are pierced with macabre flailing solos and Freed’s menacing, gruff injections.

I have to admit that I expected something a little less predictable – this opus being a rather middle of the road death metal excursion that is happy to pay homage to the old school masters, and that’s about it – but there’s a reasonable amount of accessibility even through the faster segments of brutality, which are melted together efficiently with the slower, catchier grooves. ‘Io Saturnalia’ is another initial slab of weighty mid-tempo traditional death metal before it steps up a gear and again provides a scurrying solo, but these structures soon become all too expected as each track flits by.

I sense a déjà vu moment as I once again find myself within a mire of nostalgic death metal that simply refuses to budge from its mimicry. The solos do become rather repetitive and only seem to exist to break up the monotony of the dull riffs and speedy outburst – the examples of variety all too fleeting. This is still a very meaty opus, but one which may suffer terribly from its lack of imagination. Even so, at its most extreme we get the fierce bombardment of tracks such as ‘Damnati’ with its devastating weight and walloping drums, and I’m also a fan of the equally volatile ‘Decimatio’. Nevertheless, this album soon begins to drag with songs that are overlong and all too keen to tread similar paths to one another.

While I hope that Ordo Inferus is not another brief supergroup gathering, a future for the band depends on their ability to incorporate a few new ideas otherwise their sound could well become stale extremely quickly.

Neil Arnold

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