In the snow-padded hills two stab wounds lie in waiting for each of the four hundred ordered dead as the cold and the dark clustered them unbeknownst of their bloody fate. Indiscriminate murder turned to bloodied streets and true massacre as the screams of women and children came and went forever in the matter of one evening. The Székely people had been murdered so savagely not for their ethnicity but for their defiant insistence of tradition. They would not be forcibly drafted into Vienna’s brutish hog-woman ruled order and, in organizing an opposition, they’d be slaughtered in an unforgettably cruel way. The Székely would flee the massacre and eventually be allowed to settle in cities they’d named in rememberance of terror fresh in their minds Istensegíts (“God help us”), Fogadjisten (“Accept God’s will”) that’d later be changed as Romania as a whole underwent division and abstraction over the next few hundred years. The given name of rememberance for this mass murder, Siculicidium, is today the chosen moniker for this long-standing Harghita mountain dwelling black metal duo who return after three years silence with an expectedly unusual evolution of their sound in 2019.
To say that Siculicidium have always taken the left hand path would suggest that they might’ve chosen to be a freakish outsider collective rather than it occurring naturally. At no point in their discography do they attempt the status quo, though their Wolfsgrey offshoot is a bit more average in a raw and punk-afflicted sense, but I wouldn’t say they’ve ever been so obnoxiously divergent enough to gain a large hipster or avant-metal following. There is dirt beneath their nails as they create and a lo-fi spirit (by necessity or choice) that provides an unnameable intensity regardless of what pace or direction they’d take. This works best when they find rhythmic ‘sweet spots’ and focus upon movement rather than specific or technical feats, ‘A rothadó virágok színüket vesztik’ (2012) EP is a fine example of how they take the most severe inspirations from punk, folk, and atmospheric black metal and turn it into their own wrinkled beast. The secret to sounding so different from comparable black metal peers appears to be not giving a shit about black metal beyond the first and early second waves, and instead turning towards all matter of other experiences for inspiration.
In building a diverse and manic discography it seemed Siculicidium reached a great peak of development with ‘Hosszú út az örökkévalóságba’ (2013) and beyond that point their releases have focused upon abstract narrative concepts that they’d become more willing to explain and share with the world starting with ‘Land Beyond The Forest’ (2016) EP where the band would finally take interviews. It never became clear to me if they applied a first wave black metal filter to their love of modern music, or if they attempted modern music with a barbaric black metal muscle memory but the result was always something raw and special as it appeared. Death warms over with this latest release and it comes without long-time drummer and prolific musician Khrul (Nocrul, Disztraktor) but with Wolfgrey compatriot Nekroführer‘s assistance as always.
First “A halál” (“The Death”) brings what most black metal fans would consider a decidedly eastern European handle upon later first wave black metal, a sort of post-metallic invigoration of ancient Master’s Hammer-esque rhythm bent by blowtorch and crowbar into a comfort-gripped, curved and serrated sword meant to cause severe bleeding. Second “Az iránytű” (“The Compass”) stomps in with an industrialized Voivod-ian mystère only to wrap itself with a similar garb as that of Side A before the three minute mark ushers in an noise rock bassline and swells of feedback that give way to some kind of mutant art-house black metal post-punk monstrosity. It is a difficult happening to describe as to describe the direction Siculicidium always sounds a bit overblown on paper compared to what develops on the actual vinyl. They’ve created something stylistically very ‘new’ feeling using a rotten, old sound without any sort of self-conscious posturing informing its sound. Its not as if black metal had never gotten weird before, much weirder in fact, but that frayed eastern European sense of melody and punk-folkish rhythmic sense does feel satisfyingly novel. Highly recommended.
Star-trails’ illumination. 4.0/5.0
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