Track Premiere: Concilium – “Between The Moon And The Mountain”

In metal, it is often times easy to get swept away in this romantic vision of Death. Whether it be the mournful, wilted funeral flowers of My Dying Bride or the gorephillic brutality of Cannibal Corpse or the cartoonish depictions of the Grim Reaper busting through a wall on a motorcycle in a brazen display of badassery on the cover of Fear No Evil, metal has a penchant for both glorifying and dancing around the realities of Death and its mysteries.

It is also interesting to note the parallels between occult thought and the evolution of the more shadowed forms of heavy metal. The same eyes that saw through the veneer of LeVay’s rebranded humanism gazed through the shock ‘n’ awe showmanship of Venom and saw potential–something more than the artists themselves actually believed in. Venom’s simple blasphemies led to bands like Mystifier exploring Crowley and infusing his work into their music. Music that was originally meant to be seen with a tongue-in-cheek seriousness suddenly became a vessel for earnest spiritual work.

Release date: May 5th, 2023. Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
Portugal’s Concilium find the spiritualism in the brutality. Sonically, their third album, Sky Bvrial, feels like an embrace of the crude death worship of Beherit reaching for a further, more reverent understanding of the violence and transcendence of what we so arrogantly call The End.

Funneling the Himalayan death sacrement through a lense of modern black/death ritual not dissimilar to that of Spanish death adherents Teitanblood, Concilium blanket the soundscape in an oppressive fog of death. Whereas Teitanblood feels more frantic with spastic, chaotic outbursts, Concilium feels more content to smolder–Sky Bvrial fumes with a hazy ambiance in the funeral pyres of its labored tempos. The lead guitar work is born more of controlled noise than any traditional playing; it’s as though sculpting the flickering flames with wind as the deceased is carried up the mountain towards its final, brutal rites.

The knack for crafting a hypnotic dirge of death should be of no surprise to those familiar with the Portuguese black metal underground–Concilium features none other than Occelensbrigg, whose work with the Aldebaran Black Circle has crafted some of the more mesmerizing, spiritually unsettling raw black metal in recent memory. Merge this talent for opening the gates of spiritual imagination with the raw, realistic brutality of death and reincarnation and what that means and it’s a recipe for a surefire win.

While the album is best, erm, digested as a whole, it is the utmost privilege to reveal the final morsal down the vulture’s gullet before reincarnation is achieved on Sky Bvrial. “Between The Moon And The Mountain” sets up the transcendental conclusion as the penultimate track on the record. It’s perhaps the most savagely brutal in its Autopsy-like depiction of grossness. The d-beats feel like the flesh itself is being picked apart by buzzards, the intestines torn asunder by the pounding mid-tempo as the vocals rip and tear at the bloody, dripping flesh. The guitars grind like a Swedish buzzsaw over the punky beat with violent, singular purpose that sets up for a stark contrast on the cerebral conclusion to the record. “Between” represents the most violent moment in the karmic cycle, when the flesh is ripped apart and digested before it can be carried to the heavens in the vessel of an avian belly.

The album may best be fully understood as a comprehensive piece, yet “Between The Moon And The Mountain” should be more than enough of a bloody morsel to wet the beak in anticipation. Seek reverence in the violence, place it within its context, and find that which is truly holy.

Sky Bvrial is available for preorder via the Sentient Ruin website and the Sentient Ruin Bandcamp page.


Posted by Ryan Tysinger

I listen to music, then I write about it. On Twitter @d00mfr0gg (Outro: The Winds Of Mayhem)

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