Label: Hibernacula Records
When creating black metal – perhaps more so than with most other genres – it’s important to know exactly what you want the music to express. After all, this is a genre that has, practically since inception, been about more than just the music; and whilst there is nothing inherently wrong in appreciating black metal music, the genre is undoubtedly at its best when it taps in to something more. UK trio Exquisite Ending understand this, and on latest release The Rite Of Misanthropism: Psalms V To IX, they use black metal to express their occult, Satanic nihilism, tapping in to that all-important spirit of the other which elevates this record beyond other, less self-assured orthodox black metal bands.
Make no mistake, this is orthodox black metal through-and-through, the air heavy with magic and black spirituality. Vocalist/guitarist Cardinal Andra-Inanyus maintains a commanding presence throughout, his riffs and leads suffocating and razor-sharp by turns, a prime example of the musical essence of black metal. Behind him, bassist Marhtuk and drummer Vile are a tight, powerful unit, embellishing the core of the songs with small turns and movements that help add character to the songs, and ensures musical variety whilst still staying firmly within the boundaries of orthodox black metal – “Psalm VI: Banishment Of Noble Coercion” is a prime example. The devout, unsettling introduction to third track “Psalm VII: The Bestowing Of Abhorrence, Universum” also helps keep things interesting, in a musical sense, by providing extra variety.
But more importantly, what it also does is add to the atmosphere of this record; and without doubt, it is this atmosphere that makes The Rite Of Misanthropism: Psalms V To IX such a success. These are not so much songs as they are invocations to the darkness on the other side, ritualistic hymns in praise of something greater than humanity. It’s all carried out with the required conviction for the band to succeed, especially in the hateful, arrogant vocals, which keep both their intention and the actual lyrics clear to great effect, especially on “Psalm VIII: Unbound Bloodletting Of The Orthodox Order”, with its repeated mantra towards the end (“For the void to live / You must die / Submit to self-eradication”).
At twenty minutes long it is a relatively short ritual, but one with an aura and strength that lingers long after the record itself has finished playing. It may do little to expand the boundaries of this style of black metal, but really, when the results are played with this level of determination and skill, it’s hardly an issue. The Rite Of Misanthropism: Psalms V To IX stands as an example of why, above all else, belief and conviction are so, so important to crafting worthwhile black metal.