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Limbonic Art - Opus Daemoniacal review

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Band: Limbonic Art
Album: Opus Daemoniacal
Style: Black metal, Symphonic black metal
Release date: June 2024

01. Ad Astra Et Abyssos
02. Deify Thy Master
03. Consigned To The Flames
04. Vir Triumphalis
05. I Am Your Demon
06. The Wrath Of Storms
07. Ars Diavoli

Limbonic Art is a demonic art form that one must embrace if you want to be subject of the unholy Norwegian black madness, but it doesn't always work for everyone.

Limbonic Art is a Norwegian symphonic black metal band established back in 1993 by duo Krister Dreyer and Vidar Jensen (also going by Daemon), although since 2010 the band has been solely masterminded by Jensen, who performs all instruments and vocals himself. After rising from the once great Norwegian black metal scene, Limbonic Art became a formidable force, helping establish the new symphonic black subgenre alongside the likes of their fellow countrymen in Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, and Old Man's Child. The band's first two releases, Moon In The Scorpio (1996) and In Abhorrence Dementia (1997), were particularly groundbreaking for their majestic atmospheres and cinematic soundscapes. Since then, the band extended their discography to a total of 9 full-length albums to date, including latest offering Opus Daemoniacal.

Incorporating classic orchestral music alongsie fierce traditional black metal elements was always key to this band's success in their early stages; however, Limbonic Art decided to reduce their use of symphonic elements during the albums Ad Noctum - Dynasty Of Death (1999) and The Ultimate Death Worship (2002). This new direction meant they were heading towards a standard traditional black route, whereas other pioneering bands such as Cradle Of Filth and Dimmu Borgir stayed true to their symphonic roots. Thankfully, upon becoming sole member, Daemon brought about a steady return to form by re-introducing orchestral elements. However, Opus Daemoniacal unfortunately does not sustain this upwards trajectory.

The album starts off with a lengthy 8-minute opener "Ad Astra Et Abyssos". Now, there's nothing all that unusual about the way this song begins, immediately presenting furious blast beats, ferocious tremolos, and agonizing shrieks accompanied by backing howls and growls, like some kind of demonic choir. The vocals are probably the only real point worth highlighting on this, as instrumentally it's not exactly setting the bar high at this early stage. "Deify Thy Master" swiftly follows, and there's nothing particularly original, complex, or memorably melodic about the approach here either. What we have up to now is a dramatic, semi-cinematic onslaught, full of sinister fury, driven by evil shrieks, relentless repetitively ferocious tremolos, and an unforgiving rhythm section, and things only continue in the same unrelenting, ferocious manner. The following tracks again consist of these same elements, as the demonically evil shrieks and haunting wails continue to be the most striking feature above all the other elements.

By this point, you'll probably have noticed the lack of symphonic elements; this album mostly contains traditional black metal with thick dense layering that may fool you into thinking that this was masterminded by more than just one man, but I, for one, would have liked to have heard some classic instrumentation featured now and again. I can't help but feel disappointed by the lack of synth work and structural variation, but also a few memorable melodic riffs wouldn't have gone a miss. Maybe the epic 12-minute closing song "Ars Diavoli" will bring out some of Limbonic Art's former glory? However again, the structure is overly conventional, relying on a bombardment of blackened ferocity; the tempo just does not let off steam, not for one second, and the vocals carry on as if they're still under an evil supernatural demonic spell. The tremolo riffs are mostly repetitive in structure, altering slightly but never really unleashing anything memorable or melodic. The closer pretty much sums up the album's entire 50-minute runtime, which I feel is a worthwhile length only if one's in the exact mood for it.

When looking at the bigger picture, you could say Daemon has achieved what he set out for, which to me seems like he wanted to unleash a demonic force to devastate listeners into submission. This pure evil, ferocious approach could possibly work for some listeners, but unfortunately I wasn't enthralled by his demonic madness this time. Does this live up to the band's early material? The simple answer is no, but at the same time it's far from total devastation.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Production: 6

Written on 05.07.2024 by Feel free to share your views.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 13 users
09.07.2024 - 11:05
Rating: 5
I learned that I should not expect something on the same level as the first 2 albums but I still have this foolish hope that perhaps this new album will be like them. But no, this is quite disappointing indeed and perhaps the worst Limbonic Art album.

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