ORTHODOXY – Ater Ignis (2022)REVIEW

Cleromantic summons, ominous sortition willed into insidious outcome by the tedium of run-on gibbered occult murmur determines the slow-to-grip psychorrhagy of their venomous, wrathful internal accost. These obsidian cords pelted between the irrational, energetic dread of the human animal experience and the force of the lightless flame streak the consciousness in permanent carve rather than possess it. In seeming opposition to the stupor resultant of chaotic striking the self-driven and long studied acts of psychic, spiritual-physical accost which Spanish death metal quartet Orthodoxy hypnotize with become a true diabolic force — A second wave of pulverization which feeds mind and body heightened capability of profound destruction and widened eyes to see beyond delusion. ‘Ater Ignis‘ is the fiery blood pact of death worship set to mesmerizing song, a purest and potent philter for those seeking a truly poisoned state of death metal intoxication.

Orthodoxy are a pure death metal band from an aggressive, destructive occult perspective which’d formed back in 2014 by way of Nocturn (Profundis Tenebrarum, ex-Voice of Hate) who has been a fixture of the Spanish extreme metal underground for a couple of decades now. The focus of this project was, in plainest terms, a crossing of violent death metal kicking and extended strands of doomed riffs to start, creating a volative, venomous and illicit occult form of death metal on their first demo (‘Shaarimoth‘, 2015) which I suggest it as a demo because it was a raw structured idea which’d soon convince others to coalesce into realizing the artists elevated form of this atmospherically cruel and cryptic form experience today. I’d discovered the band due to the maestro also being the drummer in Domains, a group which has been largely dormant since 2014 but impressed in similar ways once they’d managed a full-length.

The blueprint was there from the start, their eerie scene set alight by devious incantations, but it wouldn’t all come together in glorious realism ’til the release of the Valencia-based group’s debut album (‘Novus Lux Dominus‘, 2019) which I’d reviewed with very high marks upon release. Much of what I’d said back then still applies in terms of shades of early ‘Dawn of Possession‘, ‘Covenant‘ and ‘Onward to Golgotha‘ influenced groups such as Necros Christos and Cruciamentum making for decent analogues to this otherwise more focused and fluid craft. While there are basal, identifiable forms at the periphery of Orthodoxy‘s musical language we cannot necessarily see this album as iteration or plagiarism though it sports some similar personality and classicism in mindfulness of its own continuum on this second full-length.

The years-built configuration of the band at present has developed a certain grip upon the darker aspects of their sound which pushes both doomed riffs and mid-paced development into darker-still evolution, less about abstraction than they are about atmosphere and momentum-based, sinister grooves. An admirably well-considered evolution pertaining to their goals in shaping mid-paced and malevolent death metal riffs into central feature is notable from the first song on the full listen wherein “Enter the Netherworld” aims for an evil, wandering dual lead as Orthodoxy‘s rhythm section saunter in with a very real sense of dread carried on their shoulders in the form of slow-kicked double bass drum waltz into riff beyond a haunting monastic chant rings through the hall. The effect of this piece is entirely introductory but in grand, memorable fashion and for the simple enough reason that it generates atmosphere and expectation at once that that this band’s guitarists primally understand that death metal should be insidious first and clever second, ancient lessons in heavy metal dynamic any fan of ‘South of Heaven‘ fundamentally understands by ear. “Into Primigenian Darkness I Dwell” makes whole this grand entrance by transporting the willing body into claustrophobia-wracking presence, a lung and stomach full of ceremonial smoke which billows and burns within plodding mid-paced riffs that devour the experience and overtake the moment ’til the song sees its vigor draining violence through.

Orthodoxy manage to hit those cavernous atmospheric values and ancient turns of phrase in a way which doesn’t read as “caverncore” but more like the doomed deliberations of Drowned (Germany) with less meandering movements, or, certain Grave Miasma pieces wherein shades of ‘Onward to Golgotha‘, gems of Scandinavian cryptic gloom, and 90’s Morbid Angel melt into one another in such a way that they avoid any too-typical motioning. In weaving between hypnotically swaying ideas with a hand of their own a refined and extra-active tempo map/rhythmic generates rhythmic interest at a smoother pace, revealing song structures which are achievably classic their articulation, readable to even the most lazing ear. We find this notion exemplified well enough in signature on “Victory Beyond Death” but this is not a point of stagnation for the greater speech patternation of the full listen, which continues to develop riff technique and add to the watery, slurred speech of their rhythms with each piece. In fact upon first listen I’d been concerned that Side A was too much of a thread, that it’d dominate the full experience with an outsized and molten set of demented waves yet there would be no easing up in the journey forth.

Ater Ignis‘ continues to go places in Orthodoxy‘s capable hands, to transform in motion while their voicing remains consistent. Without discounting the impressive opening to Side B I’d lastly choose to focus on the impact of pre-finale piece “Where Shadows Move Unseen” where the vocalist seems to be coughing up poison from the deepest lung chamber, the pacing becomes erratic in an oppressive “Sworn to Black”-esque moment, easing towards the finale in prolonged form. The lead guitar style which has developed over this record reads as increasingly sensationalistic, erratic and willed into space by their fitting energetic aggression rather than specific note choice. “Victory Beyond Death” notably whirrs out of form in this way whereas “Where Shadows Move Unseen” generates suspenseful surrealistic noise in harried approach of the end. Closer “Ater Ignis (Covenant of Death)” serves a reprisal of both old tenets and some rhythmic ideas from the first half of the record for the sake of generating a rounded and holistic feeling listening session, tapering the rhythmic statement to a natural stopping point while still offering a grand enough finale. This would tend to be one of a few pieces which demanded my attention even when distracted or casually listening, it being particularly active in its pace and intensifying vocal layers as its pushes on, spitting the foaming toxin down its jowls as the climax lingers.

So, I’ve repeated several observations here in direct comparison to thoughts back in 2019 and this should suggest that the core appeal and recognizable pure death metal intentions of Orthodoxy are just as readable as before. The experience is more hypnotic from my point of view, the production values are warmer and more expansive, and the lead guitar work now eeks up closer to par with the rhythm guitar insight where these folks have always excelled. Where I am most impressed is the captivity of the listening experience, wherein I reach a point of immersion deep enough that a full listen is warranted with every approach of ‘Ater Ignis‘ and at no point has there been a tinge of exhaustion despite rushing for this record when it became available. All that this should indicate to the elite death metal listener is that this record has riffs, is finely composed into a complete experience, and that its atmospheric values are exceptional. Where these folks impress me most is in hypnotic pacing and delivering these songs with devious conviction, a certain looming and sparking malevolence which is both entertaining and impressive. A natural product of continuous evolution within steadfast purpose. A very high recommendation is warranted.

Very high recommendation. (90/100)

Rating: 9 out of 10.
TITLE:Ater Ignis
LABEL(S):The Sinister Flame
RELEASE DATE:September 23rd, 2022

Help Support Grizzly Butts’ goals with a donation:

Please consider donating directly to site costs and project funding using PayPal.