Think about the Haunted House attraction at the local county fair. The one where you ride herky-jerky in a little cart that clicks incessantly along a tiny train track. Every ten feet or so, some latex clad, mechanized monstrosity lurches with a whir and hum from the blackness where it then stands lifeless, save for the gyrations generated as its launching apparatus brings it to a rude, clackety stop. It’s all designed to get your blood pumping, of course, but it rarely does because you know what’s coming around every corner. Vanmakt’s Ad Luciferi Regnum is a lot like that.
This is standard fare black/death metal along the lines of mid-period Behemoth, rife with strong anti-Christian sentiment and sincere Satanist ethos. Without impugning the band’s black arts cred, most of Ad Luciferi Regnum is pretty formulaic. Insanely fast but equally sterile tremolo and arpeggio guitar most often race along with soulless, programmed machine gun blasting as predictably one dimensional raspy screams spit misanthropic epithets. There is a selection of mildly interesting melodic interludes and a few concessions to the discernable riff (and it should be noted that the drums aren’t entirely programmed), but these generally have a cut-and-paste sort of feel, and in between these you can expect more of the same.
Like a carnival House of Horrors, though, that saves the scariest props for the end of the ride, Ad Luciferi Regnum closes with its three strongest tracks. More dynamic and fluid with a greater sense of hook and melody (especially in “The Ascension”), these last few pieces show that Vanmakt have it in them to be more than a blast heavy hate metal assembly line. But, at least for now, despite the band’s proclamation that “Vanmakt is and will always be the best Black metal band in the world,” Ad Luciferi Regnum will likely leave you wondering whether your tickets would have been better spent on the Rock-O-Plane.