ORDINANCE – In Purge There Is No Remission (2020)REVIEW

Elevated by the conviction of Satan, one thousand hidden acts beyond the nourished seedling yetzer hara, the adjudicator cuts free all minds tainted — Slashing the scroll in half and disembodying the right hand’s grip, the mystification adversum cannot cease entirely but it will never grow back. Lost and stymied by the air allotted the mind when the leash-and-collar are severed, gasp with desperation until the black flame speaks within; Seek examples of potent individual spiritual prophecy for the path forward, backward, or below the standards of ‘modern man’, wherever the eternal oneness is loudest and most heart-ringing. Wulture (Arttu Ratilainen) of anti-kosmiker Flauros et Ordinance is an unlikely meeting for those greeting first severance and witnessing their own initium of black metal’s sojourn, a patient artist presenting the precepts of the craft within bespoke language and personalized technique. What may appear as a flesh-colored stone in a river bedded by similar pallid grayness is in fact a gem to be shattered and marveled upon; ‘In Purge There is No Remission‘ is a cerebral-needled act to sate the artist’s primal spiritual goals wherein the writhing, wracking mind’s release is total communion for what void it’d rightfully reach.

You’ll likely note that I haven’t pointed towards Finnish black metal or the artist’s Helsinki bound provenance and this is intentional to start because if you are stuck imagining what Ordinance sounds like it wouldn’t necessarily do you any good to begin directly pointing towards Horna‘s many offshoots or Azaghal. It would, however, have been entirely appropriate back in 2007 when the original duo’s first demo (‘Ordinance‘) released. The nowadays album-sized tape presented a second wave understanding of black metal, striking its point well beyond 1991 but still returning to those core conceptual stratagem. Necro as it may be that tape’ll feel primitive and unfocused compared to the project’s debut (‘Relinquishment‘, 2014) where it’ll be quite obvious they’d spent a solid six or seven years perfecting every measure of that debut. That duo has since ceased as Impudicus (Morrigan, Totalselfhatred, ex-Slugathor) moved on from the project sometime in the last six years of developing ‘In Purge There is No Remission’. In his place comes a completely different beast and perhaps a more technically minded kit-swatter in L.L. (Convocation, Desolate Shrine) who I would venture a guess had a role in the render/engineering of the record as well. I won’t waste more than one or two sentences comparing the first album to this second step across the threshold but I will say that ‘Relinquishment’ was a ritualistic, esoteric scarp to climb and its follow up is a ride atop the serpent’s scales, a smooth and furious rise of heat and smoke atop the pyre-sized altar it builds.

Inquisition is certainly missing from the greater black metal conversation these last several years and though it would be just as (or more) meaningful to point towards early Immortal when bearing the violent storm and chug of opener “Obstructed Paths” the late 90’s mastery of that particular band rings within my mind as Ordinance introduce their remarkable melange of Bergen-meets-borderless black metal attack. It isn’t an entirely peculiar event but flitting between absolutely classic feeling black metal riffcraft, hints of that early second wave that’d not fully left behind some of its ex-death metal guitar work, and a ‘modern’ orthodox severity acts as foreshadowing for traits that will become recognizable as Ordinance‘s very own oeuvre once the greater experience settles in mind. “Diablopathia” introduces some of those angular movements alongside vocals that speak to me in the same way that ‘Pure Holocaust’ does, gentle echoes and very slight folken rafts are set atop the ice of it all to great effect. By the third song you’ve been indoctrinated into this well-blended sensation of orthodox satanic black metal urgency and the meandering gait of what I’d consider occult black metal idealism, “Gathering Wraiths” offers a fairly simple almost rock-ish dynamic that erupts and unfolds beyond any preparation on the part of the listener and the brief reprieves that interrupt that severe flow become a major point of aggrandizement as the focus of the piece is reset. If you hit the three minute mark of the song and are still turning your nose up to my Inquisition suggestion, you are lost here. In summing the first several pieces here, we’re granted an austere and sinister set of songs that gradually desensitize, this is mere preparation for the true whirling of these dynamics that come as the album pushes towards Side B.

At this point I’d start to assess the first half as something like, if Drastus were quite a bit more Finnish and maybe had a soft spot for early Taake. There is that norse sensibility to the work but also a very unreal, possessed level of ‘great work’ in mind for the whole event. The mountainous chaotic strike that introduces “Credo Sceleratum” adds fuel to this thought but also fucking obliterates it, screaming in with a scarring lead and an force that suggests I should perhaps refresh my appreciation for classic Mayhem at this point. All of Side A has been building to this incredible piece that catches my ear and spears me with its mind-flaying stasis each time I spin through the album. I could brush the glory of the first several songs aside as merely good but this point of transition is where the album simply explodes into another dimension of its own. And of course, I will (nearly) mention every single track here as “The Kingdom of Nothing” is the piece to convince a purchase, at least for my taste, as its twanging ‘Beyond the Wandering Moon’ apropos riff hooks me like a fish each time. Muscular, entrancing, and ever-climbing gusts of riff fling Ordinance‘s regalia to a grand sky-swatting high therein and it’d surely be the song you should anticipate when firing up the album. There are surely revelations beyond this track which are even bigger in the midst of the evocative “Gesticulation of Death” and the 11+ minute finale of “Purging Kremanation” but these are the sort of sweet affirming moments black metal best offers in solitary witness. At the very least I will say Side B is one of the best black metal back-halves I’ve heard this year, though there is no part of ‘In Purge There is No Remission’ that wastes or fills time without reason or impact.

You cannot simply wave a hand in dismissal of Ordinance‘s second full-length album if you’ve any true love for black metal and well, especially if you’ve taken the time to know its greater heretical intricacies. Those who are prone to study and peel apart the multifarious resonances and minutiae of black metal releases will be awash with inspiration as ‘In Purge There is No Remission’ graces them unholy, yet I think the material here is well-crafted, cleanly presented, and exciting enough that it will attract more bodies and minds than the project’s previous record. I personally love it, the guitar work is especially enticing from piece to piece and (again) the second half is a truly majestic feat that uses the language Ordinance introduces on the first half to hammer deep its very traditional black metal approach as something uniquely affecting. A high recommendation.

High recommendation.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
TITLE:In Purge There Is No Remission
LABEL(S):The Sinister Flame
RELEASE DATE:September 11th, 2020
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Black Metal

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