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Actus Septem – The Catechism Of Death Award winner

Actus Septem
The Catechism Of Death
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 08 August 2021, 3:01 AM

ACTUS SEPTEM is a black/doom metal band from Greece. They formed in 2016 and "The Catechism Of Death" is their first full length album. In 2000, an EP was released. The band has described this album being "about every loss of our life at every level" and "our anthem to those who are gone." Considering the three members are brothers and they have experienced family losses, I'd say their subject matter hits home for them and a lot of people. This album just exudes emotion in every note. They have channeled their very beings into this album and I could feel it coming into me.

The album sounds greats; -the production is very smooth but overly produced where it sounds sterile. If anything, in contrast to the subject matter,  it sounds vibrant which allows every nuance to be captured. As expected, the album is loaded with atmosphere but it isn't cavernous or overly depressing per say. Rather than wallow in misery like many doom bands, "The Catechism Of Death" harnesses it, seeking to better understand it rather than just succumb to it. Musically, it is very much a guitar oriented album with riffs that contain much variety. Melancholic riffs, harrowing blackened passages and even melody are all tools used by the guitars and bass.

"Descending" builds up tension in the guitars as the drums come in furious on the snare. The song levels out into a melancholic groove as the more blackened parts of the band arrive. As the vocals growl, the music becomes more melodic. At this point, the sound is already full and massive—ACTUS SEPTEM are well in tuned with filling up available space by making a wall of sound that is still coherent. They dare to push their sound further into the depths with steady, grinding riffs that open up "Assert In Death."  At this point, it becomes clear how methodical the songs are and how much effort went into writing them.  There isn't any rush or notes plugged into the song structures just for the hell of it…every second has a purpose of bidding up the song. The blacked riffs around the 2:10 mark nail down the darkness of black metal and the tragic atmosphere of doom.

The vicious side of the album comes out in "Waves and Skies," with the drums leading the charge. The tempo of the snare and double bass adds urgency to the guitars and ups the intensity of the vocals. Segments of melody litter the track, well integrated with the song's overall path. "Cursedness" brings a special sort of desperation and deprivation to the proceedings. The vocals are particularly polarizing but the lead guitar provides the spark which all the other elements explode from. From 3:45 to the end, the song is a doom dirge of melodic black metal where all the instruments take a walk, bringing along with them raw emotion.

The last proper track, "Inner," ends the album fittingly. The guitars alternate between broad soundscapes and more rapid riffs for the first half. The last half is considerably more dark, taking on a Gothic embrace and letting the bass shine through a delicious melodic low end. ACTUS SEPTEM have crafted a special album here. "The Catechism Of Death" is a black doom album through and through but it also wears its heart on a musical sleeve, turning that into an emotional advantage that is hard to do anything towards except be swept alongside it.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Descending
2. Before the Devil
3. Assert in Death
4. Departed Days
5. Waves and Skies
6. At a Loss
7. Cursedness
8. Inner
9.Anavasis (Apodosis)
N. Moschos - Guitars, Drums
E. Moschos - Guitars (lead)
G. Moschos - Guitars (rhythm), Vocals
Record Label: GS Productions


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Edited 29 January 2023

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