Written By: Nameless N00b_00
A ferocious frenzy. An icy calm. Both are phrases describing points in Deus Mortem’s new album Kosmocide. Due to the seemingly contradictory nature of these two descriptions, one might be skeptical that such dissonant moods could commingle on the same record without creating an inconsistent sound. On their new opus, Deus Mortem do in fact commingle them and still manage to produce a record fans of classic era black metal acts from the 80s and 90s (think Bathory and Mayhem) will salivate over. Formed in the dead of winter in 2008, Deus Mortem is a four-piece black metal band from Wrocław, Poland comprised of ex-Azarath vocalist N. (Necrosodom), S., another S., and L.Th. A lengthy six years have passed since their last full-length, Emanations of the Black Light, so they aren’t deserving of much slack on this sophomore album. It’s about time that they serve up some epic new material and with Kosmocide, Deus Mortem does not disappoint.
Given that the name Deus Mortem translates to “the God of death,” it’s not surprising that the group draws the majority of their inspiration from the spirit of the first and second waves of black metal. Though firmly rooted in the past, Deus Mortem’s sound has matured on this second full-length album; the band’s strength lies in their ability to blend together antagonistic tones. Kosmocide’s standout track “The Destroyer” is both a melodic and aggressive assault. Background vocals at around four minutes add spice, and the acoustic guitar in the closing seconds provides a brief moment of reflection after the pummeling. The preceding track “Ceremony of Reversion p.2,” the longest on the album at over eight minutes and follow-up to “Ceremony of Reversion p.1” from their debut, is a perfect example of Deus Mortem’s perfection of opposites. The track takes you on a journey complete with tempo shifts, guttural spoken word, feverish riffs, and ethereal winds. The most glaring flaw, however, is that these two savage tracks sit at the final two spots on the album, making Kosmocide back-weighted with the strongest numbers at the tail end.
The eerie metal on metal sounds and icy atmospheres found at the very beginning of the opening track “Remorseless Beast” and scattered throughout the album (“Sinister Lava”, “The Seeker”) would feel right at home on Brian Eno’s On Land, perhaps one of the greatest dark ambient albums ever. But the similarities stop there. The chilly ambiance and brief reprieves on Kosmocide never last long and always give way without warning to frenetic, ruthless tremolo picking (“Remorseless Beast”), a lightning fast flurry of blast beasts (“The Soul of the Worlds”), and Necrosodom’s ever-present pained and devilish growls. It’s impressive that these short atmospheric soundscapes induce an alien-like feeling of floating in space but do not sacrifice the ferociousness of the rest of the album. If anything, these weightless fragments strengthen the sense of impending doom that is to come.
Kosmocide’s icing on the cake is the modern, clean, and nearly flawless production thanks to M. of Mgla who is rapidly gaining experience as a music producer. In addition, Artem Grigoryev’s artwork for the album cover is extraordinary. The way the dainty pointillism contrasts with the image of a barbaric beast is symbolic of Kosmocide’s mastery of opposites.
While Deus Mortem’s new album is not revolutionary enough to cause Behemoth, the pinnacle of black metal in recent years, to step down out of the limelight, Kosmocide does, however, prove there is new blood also worthy of attention in the Polish black metal scene.1 All in all, black metal enthusiasts on the prowl for new bands resembling the likes of Bathory or Dissection and willing to accept Kosmocide’s modern production style will be thoroughly pleased. I, for one, will certainly give the record more spins and am left wondering what else Deus Mortem has in their arsenal. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another six years to find out.