This record boasts some of the more menacing use of synths in recent extreme metal. Never over-bearing, not much more than a decrepit susurration even; usually content to be a skeleton to the overlying riff, it still creates an ominous cadence of the grottoes that lends Imprecation‘s style – staid at first in today’s saturated death metal landscape, the intent and drive therein obvious only on subsequent listens – much needed fiber. Satanae Tenebris Infinita has been a long time coming; the band has been feeding fans rancid morsels for the better part of two decades now, but at long last the debut that wasn’t to be is upon us. Does it live up to the Jehovah Denied demo from a couple of years before, and indeed the band’s storied reputation in the underground?
Well, here’s the tricky bit. Imprecation aren’t doing anything new. No, this is not just another Incantation-derivative as the general aesthetic and reception may have you believe. The band’s oeuvre and spirit is more shared with kindred bands like the Columbian Masacre, Headhunter D.C, perhaps a little Goreaphobia; bands with unrelenting pure death metal intensity yet steeped in the thrash lore that they evolved with in the latter half of the 80s. Imprecation proudly hold aloft the very same pennant and, in doing so, create death metal that can be instantly dated yet is eternal in vitality.
Imprecation harness more than a little of the black metal of the early 90s also, most notably the vile, simplistic strain of bands like Havohej and Beherit. The hybrid is startlingly effective in its evocation of defiled hosts and desecrated altars. Imprecation bring true religious blasphemy back to death metal. Has it ever really gone away? I don’t believe it has, but the element of danger has been lost for some time, leaving aside notable worthies like Paul Ledney and Incantation. Tasteless to some, perhaps; the meek who guise their unease under illusions of musical objectivity and secular non-partisanship. Anti-religious sentiment is a fundamental component of extreme metal and I’m happy there are bands – great bands – like Imprecation around to reemphasize that statement of fact.
After all, Immolation matured to a more worldly view on things, didn’t they? That is not a knock on that great band but is it any coincidence that their legendary intensity wavered as they scaled back on the anti-religious fervour?
Satanae Tenebris Infinita is dark death metal of the highest pedigree. The epithet is casually applied to many but Imprecation live and own it.