ANGUIS DEI – AD PORTAS SERPENTIUM (Svart Records)
Okay, here we go. So, I was fairly nervous listening to this band for the first time. Here’s my deal with Black Metal bands (keep in mind, I’m being very light-hearted when I say this, so this isn’t to be taken personally or seriously). With black metal, it falls into two categories:
1.) Poorly recorded music with the drums being way too loud
2.) The guitars are not loud enough, or they are not in sync with each other (if there’s more than one guitar player – there always has to be that one show-off who has to play faster than the other)
3.) Oh, there’s a bass player? Are you sure?
And last but not least,
4.) The singer sounding like a cat that was thrown into a dryer. No, this isn’t a good thing. There’s a difference between sounding like a demon, and sounding like a cat getting gang raped by a mob of toms.
1.) Can you hear me, Dimmu Borgir?
2.) This sounds very well-produced. Is this even black metal?
3.) Can you hear the elitists scoffing yet? “This isn’t Black Metal, dammit! This isn’t kvlt! Buncha posers!”
4.) This actually sounds pretty good…too good. Thumbs down.
So maybe I wasn’t entirely telling the truth on this, but it’s all in good fun. Now let’s get to the actual review, Viveca. Quit screwing around. Alright. Well, all kidding aside, I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to the album for the first time (and believe you me, I listened to it more than once).
According to their record label website (www.svartrecords.com/artist/anguis-dei), Aguis Dei, based out of Japan, “represents the extremity of Hellish Orchestral Black Metal, based on Satanism, Demonology, and the True Primordial Black Metal tradition”. My initial thought was either going to be, “Holy shit, I’m in for a treat!”, or “Oh, boy. Here we go again. Another band that thinks they’re evil, when they’re about as evil as an angry hemorrhoid”. I’m a cynical asshole. Ad Portas Serpentium is only 20:39 with only four songs on the EP, so if it sucked, I wouldn’t have wasted too much of my life. Let me tell you all, it doesn’t suck in the least bit. Color me surprised!
The first track, titled “Mayhtorns Over Uroboros“, got off to a great start. The music itself…how can I put this…Satan! Satan! Satan! Oh yeah, did I mention Satan? The vocalist’s lungs are quite admirable. He held that last syllable in Satan for 20 incredible (or excruciating) seconds. It has shades of Emperor, Dark Funeral, Dimmu Borgir, and just a skosh of Cradle of Filth (speaking of cats in a dryer…). Throughout listening to the entire album, I played a delightful game of “Guess the Band That Influenced Them”. Here’s the thing, there were so many. It was a mix of different band styles put together, yet the songs were so fluid. Seriously, I had a giant grin on my face throughout the entire first track.
To be honest, I didn’t care for the second track, titled “Angela Krudeliis Ambitiosa Nokturniis“. Don’t get me wrong. The music was incredible. It was very well-written. I just couldn’t get past the vocalist. I don’t know what the hell happened, but in the first two seconds of the song, it sounds like he’s trying to cough up some phlegm. I wish I were exaggerating. Aside from that, it still maintained the Emperor/Dark Funeral/Dimmu Borgir/Cradle of Filth feel. It flowed very well, and it kept you in darkness. It was enough to keep me going.
Up next was the piano instrumental called “Origin“. It’s quite amazing, to be honest. The song reminds me of Beethoven, and baroque style of music. The keyboard player is a musical genius. Can I get away with saying that? He is comparable to Mustis, if not slightly better. I can’t believe I’m saying that. Throughout the song, I can envision myself walking through a dark forest (Sigh. Of course). Ever dance with the Devil by the pale moonlight? It’s a different approach from the other two tracks, and I dig it as well. It sort of reminds me of “Alt Lys Er Svunnet Hen” by Dimmu Borgir (Stormblast 1996), but it had much more of a doom feeling to it.
The fourth and final track, called “The Lionel“, left me a little eh. Again, the music was very well-done. I hear a smidge of Slayer influence with the guitar solo. The song itself was still all over the place while maintaining the fluid style, but the vocals changed significantly throughout the song. There are two vocalists, and while they are both quite good at what they do at times, I cannot get past the part at 19:03 without laughing hysterically. Do you guys remember the movie Golden Child? “Use the Ajanti Dagger to kill the child!” If you need to be reminded, I’m sure there’s a YouTube link out there somewhere with the dialogue between the Devil and Sardo Numspa. Believe me. You’ll hear it.
To be honest, I had to listen to the last track several times, because I couldn’t stop laughing at the similarity. Otherwise, once you get past it, it’s fucking brilliant.
Overall, Ad Portas Serpentium is amazing. It’s everything you’d want in a Black Metal album. It’s dark, it’s heavy, it’s evil, and it’s brutal as fuck. While sounding well-produced, it doesn’t give you the feel that perhaps In Sorte Diaboli (Dimmu Borgir 2007) did. I am indeed quite impressed by these musicians, and I can’t wait to hear more from them. I strongly suggest you check out Ad Portas Serpentium immediately. Bloodrock Media Rating: 4 out of 5 axes
01. Mayhtorns Over Uroboros
02. Angela Krudeliis Ambitiosa Nokturniis
04. The Lionel
Adeptus Juno – Guitars, Keyboards
Adeptus Summum Algor – Drums
Adeptus Hakuja – Bass
Adeptus U.:È.:Œ – Vocals
Check out Anguis Dei here:
Written by Viveca “Venom” Manis for Bloodrock Media on January 14, 2018