If you’re into primitive, occult black metal and aren’t paying attention to what’s going on in the Portuguese scene right now, then I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. Black Cilice may get most of the buzz—and not undeservedly, as Banished from Time is a strong contender for my album of the year—but there’s more to Portugal than just Black Cilice. Signal Rex has been busy amassing a pretty impressive roster of Portuguese raw black metal bands, the latest of which is the mysterious Ordem Satânica, whose forthcoming debut Monte da Lua might set a new standard in primitiveness- the production on the new Black Cilice album almost sounds like Def Leppard’s Hysteria in comparison. Don’t let the grime dissuade you from giving the record a listen, though, because underneath the shitty production lies a pretty solid collection of nature-worshipping, Satanic black metal songs.
In some ways, Monte da Lua seems to take its cues from Darkthrone’s (un)holy trinity of classic albums – the guitars are thin and trebly, the cymbals are really the only discernable part of the drums, and the vocals are so far up in the mix they almost sound side-chained, giving the whole thing a decidedly ramshackle feel. Yet for this type of black metal, the fact that it sounds less like music and more like a clattering wall of noise is a large part of its charm. There’s really no point in trying to talk about riffs, because with the notable exception of closing track “Entre Árvores Sombrias,” they sound like they were played through a blown-out car speaker – they’re an unintelligible blur of sound. There’s not much variety in the tempos, and vocals are a monotone croak throughout, meaning there’s a lot of sameness from one track to the next. But there’s also a hypnotic quality to the music—aided in no small part by the frequent inclusion of nature sounds, such as wind and heavy rain—that makes for truly engaging listening.
In the end, this record probably isn’t for everyone, but for those who like their black metal on the ritualistic and primitive side, Ordem Satânica is required listening.
Monte da Lua will be available on June 23 via Signal Rex.