By Ola Mazzuca
With the rise of the blackened death metal sound, this record is a pleasant surprise. These Swedes make it evident that their creativity as a whole was expressed with much ease.
I have always believed that the best of bands are usually displayed on their second studio release. Take Metallica’s Ride The Lightning. I would pick that over Master of Puppets for many reasons. Don’t read me wrong here; I love Master as much as the next guy. But upon listening to material from Vanmakt’s first album I feel that they push their inner strength to the max on Ad Luciferi Regnum, keeping the sound fresh and unconfined to a great degree.
M. Svensson leads the pack with his rasping (yet merely guttural) vocals spewing lyrics with power and intensity. His voice makes an appearance in all the right areas of a track, while leaving room for blastbeats that do not repress the mesh of musicians. ‘Re-Incarnated Hatred’ and ‘Id XIII Inferni’ are prime examples.
Vocals overlap the tremolo driven guitar work that incorporates harmonies and dissonance. If there is one element of Vanmakt that sticks out the most is their sometimes-dissonant chord arrangement. At times, Ad Luciferi Regnum has bouts of doom infused moments on ‘Endless Myth’ to pure tranquility on ‘The Ascension’; a beautiful piece of music featuring light female vocals that contrast with Svensson to make for an intriguing duet.
Ad Luciferi Regnum is very dark. In the end, it is not your typical death album; it is shifted towards the black side of things and it is not difficult to spot out influence from the Gothenburg scene. Vanmakt have a lot to offer and it shows through their skill in honing their blender of various musical ingredients.
It is extremely refreshing to hear a different take on blackened death metal. All classic elements of both genres are present, but it takes balls to experiment with something new and stray away from the pack.