The Crowning Quietus, the second full length and fourth proper release overall for Inconcessus Lux Lucis, is a gateway drug. It’s an extreme metal gateway drug for folks put off by the arena sheen of melodeath. It’s a gateway drug for fans that enjoy a bit of an artsy weird vibe but aren’t quite into the full circus metal of Arcturus. Hell, it’s a backwards gateway drug for the extreme kvltist in your family that needs to be reminded how great a bluesy lead still sounds in the context of heavy metal.
Labels: Invictus Productions and I, Voidhanger Records
That intangible quality most likely comes from the band’s seamless combination of extreme metal savagery and classic heavy metal thunder; of being violently frantic as often as they are noodling away solos in a dim bar. “Amour Rides Upon Midnight” features the first of many relentless lead patterns that can only be described as pointy, providing the top layer over twitchy rhythm riffs and equally twitchy drumming (the man named WSJ is a beast on both of his instruments). “At the Behest of the Sinister Impulse” employs one of these lines to particularly odd effect, and later offers a completely different vibe with some melodic soloing and a machine gun resolution. (The moment rules, you’ll know it.)
The key is that everything feels natural, due both to the undeniable passion of the performances and the smarts of the songwriting. Things even stay glued when the band expands their sound far past conventionally logical bounds. Closer “Fever Upon Firmament” features the album’s blastiest moments, bluesiest licks, a boogie riff straight out of 1973, and the type of extended solo section that sounds lifted from a Maiden epic. It ends up as far from extreme metal as it starts from NWOBHM, but no step along the journey feels out of place.
While the hybrid approach is nothing rare in this day and age, Inconcessus Lux Lucis goes about it smartly by emphasizing energy, rejecting gimmickry, and just generally being better at it than some similarly minded bands with much higher profiles. The Crowning Quietus is 35 minutes of black/thrash/trad/rock goodness. Riffy as all hell, catchy when you least (or most) expect it, and ever-so-slightly demented.