Wednesday, 28 August 2019
Corona Barathri - Speculum Diaboli.
Album: Speculum Diaboli
Artist: Corona Barathri
Label: Speculum Diaboli Records
Catalogue no: SDR001
1. Expulsio Sancti / Anathema
2. Iter Violentiae
3. Invocatium Diabolorum
4. Speculum Diaboli
That I am reviewing this Satanic/dark/death/black/ritual/doom ambient from Russia’s Corona Barathri on a very hot, sweaty day appears to be entirely appropriate – if nothing else it’s a provident atmospheric backdrop, something to get me in the mood, so to speak. All joking aside, CB caught my attention earlier this year when I accidentally caught a video on Youtube featuring one of their pieces (I forget the name of it though) and then I recently reviewed a Black Mara label compilation (Palaces of Darkness) which featured a song of theirs called ‘The Kingdom of Nav’. And now, thanks to Ilya Affectvs, I get the chance to review their latest effort, Speculum Diaboli, which is due for launch on September 13 2019.
If you’re not familiar with Corona Barathri’s work, then this is as good a point to acquaint yourselves with it as any. It truly is a unique sound, resting somewhere between the blackest of dark ambient atmospherics along with the spoken word, massed choirs, guttural black metal vocal stylings, and even a bit of deep throaty singing for good measure. Occasionally you’ll hear traditional instruments like acoustic guitar and flute, plus that favourite instrument of the devil, the organ, in addition to subtle embellishments from electronics and deeply seismic, subterranean rumblings and drones.
Rather than describing Speculum Diaboli’s individual tracks, in this review I am going to essay the overall mood and ambience. This is solely because the music is complex, ever-evolving, constantly metamorphosing and shapeshifting, as well as being incredibly intense, and therefore has to be experienced fully and immersively, preferably on headphones. It’s a nightmarish trip into the belly of the earth, where the temple is some grotto deep underground, the celebrants are faceless and hooded, and where sulphurous vapours smoke out of fissures, while deeply reverberating rumbles echo endlessly. Each of these four pieces of music is part of a series of long canvases, depicting a journey through an extremely dark underworld, a nether region that the diurnal world never touches, let alone is aware of.
Voices speak in languages thought long-dead, the individual words invested with immense power, perhaps the reason why these tongues were hidden in the first place so they could not be spoken by the profane. The intonation of each syllable sets off bursts of convulsive potential and dynamism, drilling through rock and soil to shake the foundations of the world. Entities, malign and composed of bubbling chaos, answer the calls, roaring, howling, and wailing their approbation. Conduits, long disused, open and become carriers of pent-up currents that have waited patiently for release for far longer than man has been around.
If it’s truly chthonic vibes you’re looking for, then this (along with Corona Barathri’s other releases) will fulfil that need several times over. This is music of the lightless depths, the crawling abysses, and of the kingdoms of the dead. Here fires burn blackly, the flames animated by demonic forces that are beyond mortal comprehension. Chasms of rock as old as the earth vibrate with an unholy power, a welcoming trilling from the dormant but now reawakened gods and demons of pre-antiquity. This is mind-numbing, gut-wrenching, intestine-twisting stuff, and not for those who fear to tread upon the dark paths.
A very limited deluxe handmade wooden box which, as well as the CD, also contains a black candle made from wax and soot, an evil incense pouch (Artemisia, Juniper, Sulphur), and a consecration blade and black parchment (Sacrificium), with all materials consecrated with witch oil, in an edition of just 10, is SOLD OUT. Other editions of Speculum Diaboli (a digital download and a CD in envelope) will be available via Bandcamp from September 13th on the link below:
Psymon Marshall 2019.