For the best part of the last decade, the World Terror Committee imprint has launched itself to the top of the pile by consistently releasing potent and, importantly, modern interpretations of our beloved black metal. Last year we were delighted to see Order of Orias make their righteous label debut with Inverse, but WTC unleashed another obscure gem around the same time that seems to have slipped under the radar. Adustum’s Searing Fires and Lucid Visions has rarely left this lurker’s decks since its arrival, despite going criminally unnoticed by the wider fanbase.
Belgium hardly leaps out as a black metal hotspot – only Enthroned and Alkerdeel immediately come to mind as acts of notable quality – but Adustum’s first effort goes some way towards upping their country’s stakes on the international scene. There’s no big secret as to what makes Searing Fires and Lucid Visions so great, no clumsy rhetoric or hidden agenda meddling with the music; it’s just nothing but cold-hearted, orthodox black metal from start to finish. Lyrics summon the devil within and call upon Thelemic deities amid tales of carnal conquests and occult enlightenment – all topics that will appeal to disciples of the Left-Hand Path. Carried by the ripping assault of the three-piece band and preached by the grim croak of frontman and composer Ïal Lehmti I’Riv, Adustum’s vision comes across as brutally honest and adversarial.
Although the style’s name might suggest otherwise, the black metal I find most moving always evokes a number of different shades and hues within its unique musical tapestry. Adustum triumphs in channelling deep reds, oranges and yellows through its incendiary guitar tone, implanting the flickering flames of Hell in the mind’s eye, the exact scenes hinted at by the album’s title. This infernal “colour” is best translated by the rapid power-chord progressions and fleeting tremolos that litter the first two tracks, ‘Vohir – Exvocatium Daemonicus’ and ‘Ravenous Copulation Upon Her Altar Of Catamenia’. Clocking in at five minutes apiece, these raucous hymns quickly establish Adustum’s identity as one rooted in tradition but executed with a deft modern hand.
The album peaks with third song ‘The Eulogy Of One Through Three Times Three’, which, despite being 11 minutes long, leaves the listener yearning for more as it fades into nothingness. The way the drum phrases evolve beneath the primitive roar of the guitar and bass is pure magick, and the atmospheres generated by this interplay of rhythm and melody spark frequent pangs of what I can only describe as “hope” or “joy”. It’s downright sinister. Unfortunately, by this point there is just one song left of the record, ‘Psalm CLVI – The Rites Of Lunar Blood’, but its thrashing intensity and haunting tribal interlude make it a worthy closer. Again, at nine minutes, Adustum’s lengthier tracks of the second half shine through with their labyrinthine composition and addictive, memorable riffing.
Really, the only complaints that can be made against the album don’t even concern the music. For one, Searing Fires… begs to be at least half an hour longer. Just as you feel you’re getting to grips with the band’s approach, the record ends, leaving the listener to play it over and over until satisfied. Perhaps it’s more constructive to think of it as an EP rather than a full-length. Those struggling to digest Dødsengel’s Imperator will likely get a kick out of this, however. The other complaint regards the sleeve design, the colour scheme of which makes the lyrics nigh-on impossible to read for even the most dedicated analyst. These quibbles aside, though, Adustum have leapt into the fore with a stunning debut, oozing conviction and belief in all they say and do. LURKER awaits more from this band with great anticipation.
Drown in the qliphothic corridors of Searing Fires and Lucid Visions by ordering the CD now from the World Terror Committee.