ADAESTUO – Purge of the Night Cloak (2022)REVIEW

Our willing collapse into death, knowing all too well the bartering had up ’til that point been worth the erasure of ego, appears less as defeat to the trembling onlooker than it does the triumphal unfurling of wing into into gliding indoctrination. The freed horrors, flapping of their avant-garde scythedom set to distort egalitarian classicism in the hands of multi-national triskelion Adaestuo intoxicate the air and dust the ground with a greyed luminescent ash, presenting frayed minds in acceptance of death-touch who’re left without soul to rally concern upon. If the ears could gawk at the creeping mess of violence and possession available to their latest mini-LP release, ‘Purge of the Night Cloak‘, they would do so until loose, bled of their opaque veins and deafened by their loss.

For many listeners ‘ready attuned to the three-pronged crown of Adaestuo the project had initially appeared, perhaps by the association of the ‘Adaestuo‘ mLP from Incursus circa 2013, as a continuation of the work done in that band by way of VJS‘ (Nightbringer, Sargeist) similarly constructed guitar work, an irrational and impatient aggression which appeared to still bear roots in the Satanic orthodox black metal age of suffuse and heady enlightenment but, of course when this project officially formed ~2014 between said musician, Finnish militant Vainaja (Theriomorph, ex-Horna) and experimental Polish vocal artist Hekte Zaren they’d intended much more than a spiritual successor, but a complete spiritual union for the sake of a more daring, personalized vision. The triumvirate soon after presented their decidedly avant-garde yet still intensely ‘classic’ black metal ideal delivered by way of a debut mLP (‘Tacet Semitae‘, 2016) which of course stood out immediately for the sake of the aforementioned spirited guitar work and equally distinct vocalizations from Zaren, this alongside some tempered blackened noise and dark ambiance would characterize their debut LP (‘Krew za Krew‘, 2018) as well, more-or-less modulating the ratio of black metal aggression and the more ‘experimental’ notions of the group towards ruinous, eerie volatility. This was arguably the most violent, physical work from the group to date as they’d begin to elementally shift from corporeal unction to metaphysical symbolism, at least to some degree.

The suggested foundational provenance for ‘Purge of the Night Cloak‘ today is the immersive, uniquely atmospheric breakthrough found on the trio’s second full-length (‘Manalan Virrat‘, 2020) wherein the vocal pieces became more elaborate in their solo presentation while also deeper integrating into Adaestuo‘s dark ambient mesmer, a manner of layered presentation I tend to associate with the best of Jarboe and/or Diamanda Galás by default. If we can consider “Vaa’as” from that second full-length as a bold extension of the projects vision then most of this mLP tends to run with a similar thought, or, ratio of modes available to the artists while pulling back in some of the more aggressive guitar work found on ‘Tacet Semitae‘, in this sense the material seems to be a continuation beyond their second album and less likely a set of leftovers. For a band that’d already taken a plunge into somewhat cinematic art-inclined black metal vignette prior this does feel like a notable suiting up into new skin.

Upon first listen I’d had to go back and root through the cellar dank and fleet-fingered accost of the aforementioned ‘Adaestuo‘ mLP from VJS‘ previous band, not only for the sake of the song titles being the same but because the guitar work on this particular piece is similar in action as well some exploration of the not so neatly set harmonic values of their earliest work, or precursor station. The second half of that first piece “Adaestuo I” eventually incorporates a particularly detailed summation of what Adaestuo covers between the three artists own forte rather than separating their black metal aggression and the mystic dark-calling vocal work into two different modes. That said, both rivers naturally flows into their oil and water diffusion wherein the most aggressive, clever and inspired piece on the album for my own taste “Adaestuo II” soon gives way to the almost entirely vocal driven “Hydra”, which serves as the most arresting and involved invocation we’ve gotten from Zaren since the aforementioned “Vaa’as” thanks to some use of strings and light percussion in the periphery.

Considered as a 10″ release or a fairly short CD release, the split between the two halves of ‘Purge of the Night Cloak‘ are equitably spread and seemingly paired for effect wherein the most blended aspects of Adaestuo‘s sound bookend the full listen. That said I would’ve preferred “Adaestuo III” to be featured before “Hydra” since it felt like the former song dropped off quickly compared to the droning momentum of the latter and left the mLP a quick snap of silence before looping back to the star. After quite a few listening sessions parsing the performative value of the vocals, the strong guitar work and the cruel, shamanic madness of the full listen I’d found myself impressed but wanting more of what “Adaestuo II” was doing overall, at least in the sense that the ratio of guitar driven black metal to dread fields of blackened miasmic noise wasn’t perfect. If you’re a bit more biased to the guitar work as the central conversation driver, you’ll likely feel the same yet I can nonetheless recommend this one as an interesting, worthwhile continuation of their trip thus far. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (75/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
ARTIST:ADAESTUO
TITLE:Purge of the Night Cloak
LABEL(S):W.T.C. Productions
RELEASE DATE:August 30th, 2022

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