One of the perks of doing a site like the Vault is how much music I’ve been exposed to that likely never would have otherwise popped up on my radar. For example, my familiarity with Belgian metal pretty much began and ended with Aborted, but the gaps in my knowledge are slowly starting to fill in. One-man blackened doom project Imber Luminis put out a fantastic record called Nausea back in March, and the forthcoming record from black metal outfit Cult of Erinyes, the Ancient Roman Empire-based concept album Tiberivs, is a complex, sweeping album that reminds me in some ways of Cultes Des Ghoules’s masterful Coven, but on a smaller scale.
Based on the PR notes, it sounds like Tiberivs was something of a difficult album to make, resulting in longtime vocalist Mastema leaving the band at the end of recording. There’s that old adage, though, about pressure being necessary in order to create diamonds, and it certainly applies to the final results here. Musically, the album tends almost towards the progressive end of the black metal spectrum, relying more on dramatic mid-tempo sections and moody slower passages than furious second-wave blasting, though the record can certainly rage when it needs to. In those more frenetic moments, they sound a bit like Marduk or Watain. The band is at their best, though, in those more nuanced moments, like during the guitar solo section of “Nero,” the instrumental section that bridges “Casvs Belli” and “Bred for War,” or the slow-building intro section of “First of Men.”
Ultimately, it’s the strength and variety of the songwriting, and particularly the riffs, that carry the album. The constantly swirling moods and tempos both with each song and from one track to the next ensure that the record stays engaging throughout its roughly hour-long run time. It can be a bit of a challenging listen at times, but it definitely rewards the listener’s patience. For fans who like their black metal with a bit more depth to it than just straight ahead tremolo-and-blasting, you would do well to check out Cult of Erinyes.
Tiberivs will be available digitally and on cassette on June 16 via Caverna Abismal Records.