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Release date May 25/18 (Osmose)

Despite their being in business for close to 30 years, this is the first run-in I've had with Filii Nigrantium Infernalium (Rhapsody of Fire in Portuguese). This, their third full length, starts out with what sounds like a sermon gone very wrong, leading into the harrowing lead-off track ('Po'), ripping faces off in first wave black metal vehemence. Amplifying the effect are some insane vocals that can best be described as sounding like a possessed Udo Dirkschneider going through a rough exorcism. The majority of the first half of Hostia follows this blueprint, drawing the listener into its bracing, unsettling atmosphere, which is absolutely riveting in its delivery.

The second half slides back a touch on the blackness for the most part, instead attacking with an energetic form of traditional heavy metal, akin to an up-ratcheted Accept. Even Belathauzer's vocals are dialed back making him sound like Udo's slightly demented Portuguese cousin crossed with Destruction's Schmier.

Personally, I'd prefer that more focus be given to the old school blackness, but it's way cool to hear a band being able to pull off two different sub-genres so well in one release. Time to investigate their first two albums. Highly recommended.


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