This primogeniture of the individual would disallow a meditation of the one mind, the seed of all things devoted to transformation, and make claimant of he who would deny the shining one, the son of dawn heir to chaotic duality. A ritual ascends from Below to Above, curling as incense for the sight divided suffocating the choir who’d imbalance the will of stasis between worlds. Transfixion by the hand of death’s magick is both liberation and illumination spent towards the apotheosis of the individual; Here the left hand guides the reverberations of the unknown towards the embodiment of free will. Those emboldened by the scars of self-directed infamy descend from Above to Below, bending as a stream of light soon forcibly suffocated by the noxious smoke of incantation. The right hand gives brutal rhythm to progress in the dark, slashing at forms divined by ear and compelled by the throat’s howling crypts. Enlighten ad infinitum through this passage between realms with ‘Novus Lux Dominus’ as a primed psychotogenic medium of transformation. Ave to the robed of Valencia, Spain based occult death metal band Orthodoxy for this worship of the dark and defenestration of the light on their full-length debut, a great leap from a bestial birth towards ornately ritualistic ferment.
If you are not among the flock who’d been left cowering in fear since 2014, the year that Domains would release their debilitating luciferian totem ‘Sinister Ceremonies’, there is yet any relief from that threat being reborn. It is no small consolation to see the adjacency of Orthodoxy spirit forth by the hand of Spanish musician Nocturn who’d direct Domains as well as Profundis Tenebrarum otherwise. It’d been difficult to shake thoughts of ‘Sinister Ceremonies’ from my mind if only because that record has become a ‘classic in hindsight’ for my own tastes and one of my favorite Immolation-esque death metal albums in recent memory; ‘Novus Lux Dominus’ is something else, though, a blackened death that has evolved into something much more austere than the ‘Shaarimoth’ EP was back in 2015 when Orthodoxy was a solo project. Aptly described as hypnotic and disruptive in motion the greater picture of ‘Novus Lux Dominus’ is a study in atmospheric death metal that is eternally entwined with the regal grace of ‘classic’ death/doom metal influenced groups such as Drowned (Germany), Sonne Adam, and Necros Christos. The world of occult and luciferian music often tends towards a direct black metal structure and implementation and though it’ll feel just as mystically damned this debut is generally tuned towards the idol of Incantation and the permutations of that form since; It isn’t necessarily ‘caverncore’ but does express within a certain pantheon of the darkest mid-paced death; “Flame of Primordial Essence” and “Voluptuous Death” are the most direct examples of this.
“Abyss of Aberration” is both a slight point of departure and a major point of characterization for Orthodoxy as its Gorement (or, Demigod?) reminiscent riffs twist and fade slowly into a dramatic doomed descent. It manages to be a standout without diverging too precariously from from the ‘old school’ riffcraft that the band work with otherwise. I’d wanted more of this brokenly melodic resignation as Orthodoxy show some extra depth in those slower-paced moments. The song initially threatened to be a roadblock for the full listen because it felt like a coda for the album, a death mourned in exit that might’ve worked better as the closing piece for the album; Ultimately I’d appreciate its position in the full listen as a peak built up to alongside the more savagely barreling presence of “Voluptuous Death”. Three brief intro tracks split ‘Novus Lux Dominus’ into a top-heavy dissolution from rage and violence Above towards ruminations upon greater darkness Below, this should be considered the ideal transformation from this specific spiritual perspective.
“Key to Victory” is appropriately the full reveal, the widening chasm of riff that builds in pace, slows to sludge-thick doom crawl, then bursts back towards the aggression hinted at as it began. Beyond the spectacle of each of the six main songs here, which average 6-7 minutes in length, there is some great attention paid to how each track relates to the next creating a dynamic but not specifically memorable listen. Occult expression should be as dynamic as it is ruthless and in that sense Orthodoxy excel but the savvy underground metal fan should not expect a cheaply ‘retro’ or plainly presented ‘old school’ death metal record. ‘Novus Lux Dominus’ is impressively realized for a debut record and expresses itself as if it were a second or third album from the project; The production sound is refined but still raw enough to manage atmospherics and brutality alike, every element of Orthodoxy’s sound/style is achieved without any growing pains or too-obvious influences muddling the experience. I found myself compelled to keep listening to this record despite it not really gripping me ’til the third or so spin– There I’d gotten the bigger picture and began to appreciate the more than capable pacing of the listen alongside aforementioned standout tracks (“Abyss of Aberration”, “Key to Victory” etc.) which I’d recommend in preview of the full listen. Very high recommendation.
Heresies to rend all idolatry. 4.5/5.0
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