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Gotholocaus – Summa Perfectionis

Summa Perfectionis
by Santiago Puyol at 04 May 2019, 7:33 AM

Thanks GOTHOLOCAUST for this album. I’ll start this review by saying that although I get the whole mysterious vibe that raw and rough production gives to Black Metal it can get difficult to me at times. Having an aesthetic is fine and all, but when the aesthetic goes against the music, then you have a problem. That’s not the case with this album and I’m so glad for that.

This is a Black Metal band, and that isn’t just easy to grasp from the album cover or the lyrical themes, it’s also in the sound. Although there are a few Thrash, Death, Prog and even Post-Metal influences that you can spot here and there, “Summa Perfectionis” is a Black Metal album by a Black Metal band coming from Nantes, France. And yet, there’s depth to the bass, the guitars don’t sound thin and the drums still sound like Black Metal drums without feeling like you are knocking on wood. Production can be raw and serve the music right at the same time, and this album is proof of that. Little pseudo-rant aside, let’s dive into this album, sixth full length so far by the band.

“Inquisition” is a great opener and presents the overall sound of the band in full display. A memorable chorus and an interesting bassline shine through the mayhem of blast beats, intense riffing and harsh vocals. A soft, brief almost pause at three and a half minutes functions as a dramatic non-stop before a final assault in your ears; at least until the next song. “Nyarlathotep” follows next, bringing a more varied approach, with a nice clean guitar intro and a lengthy BLACK SABBATH-inspired middle section. At four and a half minutes, an epic scream pierces through your ears, adding some much-needed intensity.

Considering most of the songs last between six and seven minutes, it’s remarkable how none of them actually feel overlong. There’s just enough variation in the songwriting and an emphasis in melody that helps the album sustain its length overall and in every song. Things keep being interesting. This is especially noticeable on fourth track “Impious” that shifts between sections with intense, heavy riffing and frantic drumming and reverb-heavy softer passages. A nasty, catchy riff comes through at various points on the song, and it manages to include a jazzier, more complex structure on its last third. The final coda even features some extremely layered guitar work.

Another example is eight-minute long “Svart II” – longest song on the album – that has a strong Post-Metal feel, with its clean, arpeggiated and delayed guitar melodies that contrast directly with the heavier sections. The whole track carries a nostalgic vibe nonetheless. The entrance of the drums and the harsh vocals feels extremely nature and the bass provides a nice support to the guitar melodies. Some effect-laden cleans offer contrast and a little light amidst the intensity. The heaviest song and shortest is the title track, flowing directly from “Svart II”. It’s a fast-paced number, driven by frenetic and aggressive drumming. After the more melodic and slower previous track, it gives the album some needed momentum and sets the stage perfectly to intense closer “The Trial”, that brings everything to an epic end.

The rest of the album is strong enough to hold on its own, with “Calusari” being the highlight among them, mainly for its atmospheric, bass-driven ambient passage about four-minutes in. “Summa Perfectionis” is an enjoyable 55-minute journey that gets really heavy, raw and abrasive at times, but never feels too inaccessible. A dark and intense album keeps your head banging through its faster moments. Excellent and worthy of more than a few listens.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Inquisition
2. Nyarlathotep
3. Uppsala
4. Impious
5. Shadows Horde
6. Calusari
7. Svart II
8. Summa Perfectionis
9. The Trial
Darkhaus – Vocals
Seratoth – Guitar
Evilarsen – Guitar
Sistre – Drums
OberKommander – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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