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Animus Mortis - Testimonia

Animus Mortis
by Julius “Dreadheart” Mikkelä at 01 December 2014, 8:53 PM

Black Metal is really one of those regional genres that has a strong foothold in a certain region and is then mostly nonexistent everywhere else. Norway and Sweden are its strongholds from whence not only nearly all great Black Metal bands originate, but where indeed most Black Metal at large originate, and the further from the frozen Scandinavian wastes you get the less Black Metal you encounter.

So let’s just say I was more than a little surprise to encounter a Black Metal band from Chile, in the form of ANIMUS MORTIS. Apparently these guys have been around since 2004, and released their debut album “Atrabilis” back in 2008 which was rather well-received, but for whatever reason I had never heard about them. And in some ways I wish I had, because if their 2014 release “Testimonia” is anything to go by, ANIMUS MORTIS seems like the kind of rising Black Metal band you might just want to keep an eye on.

My overall impression of the album is that it’s decently well-produced (which in Black Metal terms means amazingly well-produced), has got some interesting songwriting and an unusual sound that, while not necessarily my cup of tea, has this really nice Black Metal meets PARADISE LOST touch to it. There’s definitively some Scandinavian influences playing, especially when ANIMUS MORTIS decides to get furious and brings out the classic Black Metal double bass blasts, but unlike a lot of other Black Metal it’s not the sole ingredient, which makes the course of both each song as well as the album as a whole feel freshly varied and remains interesting.

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of ANIMUS MORTIS is the vocalist Nicholas Onfray, who several times during the album’s length departs from his harsh vocals and brings a chant-style type of singing that really gives off this atmosphere of an unholy summoning. I can’t decide if it causes too much deviation from an otherwise overall solid format or if it’s the addition that makes the difference, but it’s regardless and interesting choice and I’m all for the interesting – especially in something so generally lacking of interest as Black Metal.

So in large I’d say this is a great release and ANIMUS MORTIS should be proud of themselves. “Testimonia” is an unusually interesting Black Metal album that delivers on just about every front and definitively manages to stick out with its unusual sound, solid production value and great performance. Its one true weakness is that while the songwriting is good and interesting there’s just no song really worth remembering, resulting in a great album with sadly only good songs. The potential for better is there though, and once these guys come around to delivering their magnum opus, I think it’s going to be pretty damn excellent. Until then, “Testimonia” will definitively do, and I recommend checking it out for the quality Black Metal – with a twist – that it is.

4 Star Rating

1. REM Manifesto
2. Seven Decrees
3. Manuscripts (Emanation & Ascent)
4. Hyperbole Of Senses
6. LVX
7. Vibrations From The Immaterial
Nicholas Onfray - Vocals
Nhiver - Bass
Tempenor - Drums
Grimness - Guitars
Jorge Letelier - Guitars
Record Label: ATMF


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