Concilivm – A Monument in Darkness Review

I scoff at the idea of curses, but things have been dicey since I let Concilivm‘s dark magicks into my life. My hated rival Grigori Ilanovich got the promotion I’ve been vying for, there’s a strange shadow on the bedroom wall that seems to be creeping closer each night, and my credit rating has been lowered to “Shoot on Sight.” Can A Monument in Darkness‘s forty minutes of blackened death metal really be the source of all this bad mojo? Spin the debut offering of this duo from Chile, and you too might find yourself consumed by the encroaching blackness. It may well be too late to save me, so I’ll set down this record of my findings. But fair warning: if you read on, neither AMG Industries nor its subsidiary rendering plants can be held liable for any ill tidings that befall you.1

The ingredients of this fetid concoction are simple enough: a scoop each of scabby black and death metal, a smattering of groovy riffage leavened by ominous, occasionally whispered vocals, and a generous heap of songwriting skill. Stir in some belladonna and one “v” of trvth. The resulting mixture has a spellbinding power that recalls Incantation, with band members A and Ω laying down eight tracks of “deathened black,” as the promo copy calls it, that let up on the punishment just long enough to sneak in some effective flourishes. Catchy riffs emerge from the murk, lead guitar licks occasionally poke their head up over the edge of the foxhole, and the voKILLS transmute from roars into black rasps and then again into menacing whispers. It all combines to create a vibe of primal occultism, a sense that you’re a witness to the striking of dark bargains. This is nasty good stuff—Concilivm hits the ground running with a feral but sophisticated first full-length, a bruising beatdown that’s also brainy enough to send Ferox, a word nerd if ever there was one, running for his dictionary to learn what “oneiric” means. 2

Concilivm‘s songs are full of bespoke touches that keep things engaging. Don’t get me wrong: this putrid draught of blackened death is primarily preoccupied with pummeling. But every now and then, as on opener “Cryptic Asceticism,” the black clouds will part for just long enough to let a bit of groove or melody peek through. A killer middle section (“Of Gold and Silver,” “Maleficent Creation,” and “Moonlight Nigredo”) is densely packed with these songwriting gimcracks. “Of Gold and Silver” even features a freaked-out psychedelic lead guitar line that emerges from the void to close out the track. It’s a “carrot-and-stick” approach to composition that keeps you on your toes throughout A Monument in Darkness. The aural abuse is rendered more vivid by the prospect of relief; the ear candy never gets cloying because you always know it’s about to be snatched away from you.

If you’re casting about for flaws in this otherwise terrific debut, you won’t find many glaring ones. A brief malediction is apparently a more potent one—longer compositions like “Oneiric Abyss” numb the listener’s ears with a lack of dynamics in the writing. The drums could be more powerful, and it’s often anyone’s guess where the bass guitar might be hiding. Still, the overall production helps this codex of curses do its evil work, or at least it doesn’t get in the way. “Murky atmosphere” is not the most difficult target, but the anonymous bruja at the controls conjures a pall of evil that sets in with the first note and doesn’t clear until the acoustic picking that closes out final number “Archetype.”

Nuf hcum os neeb—shit, sorry, you get used to talking backward when you’re dabbling in black magic. Let’s try that again: Feel free to label Concilivm blackened death, or deathened black, or any other combination of those words you can dream up. You won’t be thinking about genre tags while A Monument in Darkness casts its malevolent spell. There’s nothing revolutionary here, but the band manages to add some new and pleasing ingredients to a familiar potion. If you’re looking to throw a hex at your boss or at an ex who done you wrong, the eight execrations on A Monument in Darkness could be just the place to start. As always, exercise due diligence before consummating any eldritch bargains—but you’re in good hands with these Chilean sorcerers. Arcane invocations have never been so much fun.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Releases Worldwide: April 8, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Waivers are available in the Greeting/Meatgrinder Room. – Steel
  2. oneiric (adj.) – related to dreams or dreaming.
« »