Regardless of the recent explosion of directions that black metal seems to be travelling in, there remains a good number of projects that dedicate their work to pure, seething evil. Much like the music itself, this evil is no longer a mere reflection of the once confused and forsaken adolescent souls that helped bring the choirs of the damned to life. No… this evil is experienced, cunning, shrouded in secrecy, and ill-willed. It’s sole purpose is to illuminate through sermons recognizable only to the trained and tamed ear. Rêx Mündi‘s first official debut, IHVH, fits well within those paramaters.
Much like my first paragraph, there is a certain level of pretentiousness that goes along with a music project that hides behind strong doctrinal symbolism of Kabbalistic practices, complete anonymity and an album that represents the incommunicable name of the Supreme Being. On the same token, there’s also a level of respect that goes along with musicians who are able to take one hundred percent of the light off themselves and allow the listener to focus solely on the beast they have created. Regardless of IHVH‘s pronounciation or historical religious implications, this album is one nasty little fucker; and much like the rest of Debemur Morti‘s legions of sacrilege, is not for the faint of heart.
While little to nothing is known about the members of Rêx Mündi, vocalist and guitarist Metatron has revealed the band’s unsurprising French origin, as well as the band’s motives for re-recording and re-releasing their original 2005 demo this year. (The 2011 album is slightly different than the first recording, however.) While IHVH gives off that classic “raw black metal” aura, much of the album’s recording was carefully handled in a well-built home studio. The drums are triggered and the guitars were channeled through a direct line-in recording. With the precision that went into producing this bad boy, there should be absolutely no surprise that IHVH‘s message was as carefully curated as was its disheartening sound.
While the majority of IHVH simply sucks the life out of the listener with sweltering blast beats and vocal effects that sound like samples from the bowels of hell, there are also distinct moments of melodic beauty that seep out of tracks such as “Pious Angels” and “Raising My Temples,” which are consequently the album’s longest tracks and the most demonstrative examples of Rêx Mündi‘s overall compositional capabilities. But let’s get one thing straight: Being beautiful or romantic is nothing this project is about. That’s what makes the music so tiring, and as a result the band is at a slight disadvantage given the amount of other tiring music haunting the airwaves today.
The most difficult thing about IHVH is the amount of effort the listener is required to put forth in order to digest the album. The music, although immaculately composed, is exhausting at times and downright preachy at others. Thus, the obvious roadblock that Rêx Mündi will need to overcome is the fact that it is competing alongside more experienced French black metallers Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord, Svart Crown and Aosoth, among others. Consequently, Rêx Mündi has stated that IHVH is only the introduction to what will be a full-blown trilogy. Not to take away from the musical brilliance of all of the mysterious dark works coming out of the artistically-minded country of France, but with all the seminars coming from black metal trilogies these days, I’m starting to scratch my head and wonder what the difference is between bands like Rêx Mündi and the beast against which black metal used to be courageously fighting.