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Menace Ruine: In Vulva Infernum

Face A
1. Omnia In Nihil
2. Permanently Liminal

Face B
1. In Reverse We Die
2. Dark Mother

We reviewed the debut cd from this boy / girl black metal duo from Canada, a few lists back, released on the not typically black metal label Alien8, and gushed appropriately about its gorgeous drone drenched minimalist black buzz. We mentioned then that they also had a release on Tour De Garde, the label run by the guys in Akitsa, and we’ve now finally managed to track down a bunch of copies of that first tape.
If anything, this one is more metal (but in parts just as experimental), less minimal, with a sound much more intense, drums and vocals the focal point. The sound less blissed out and atmospheric. It’s a strange sound, one that changed pretty dramatically for their next record, but we ended up digging this as much as the Alien8 release.
It’s both the drums and the production that make this record so intense, the sound is super hot, the recording vivid and loud without being blown out, and the drums, programmed we assume, are furious and LOUD and pretty much drive all the action. Way up in the mix, pounding relentlessly, peppered with flurries of double kick and blasting fills, the guitar alternately unfurling clouds of harmonics, or grinding riff for riff right alongside the drums, turning the metal into something more looped sounding and trancelike, eventually exploding into a weird processed dronescape, all glitchy buzz, and streaks of hiss, whirring electronics, and bits of crumbling distortion, drums still there, buried now underneath this churning slab of fuzz and buzz and blur, until those drums lurch up of the murk, and the guitars lock back into a strange static riff, the rhythm more sparse, with dark throaty female vocals, suddenly the sound is some black gothic doom, still the guitars grind and soar, chunks of jagged melody are hurled back and forth, the sound is just so good, so intense, and so strange. This is so unlike any other black metal we’ve heard. Listening to this tape has us wanting to go back to the Alien8 disc and dig deeper into that one too.
Later on, the band dabble in huge trudging black doom, the guitars so processed and blown out, they emanate a warm fuzzy aura, the programmed drums monstrous and pummeling, making the rhythms sound almost like dance music at times, while sounding like a less lo-fi Nadja at others. Distant howled vocals, throbbing distorted low end. This shit is just so crushingly heavy but not at all in the way we’re used to. Hard to describe. But we’ve listened to this tape about 4 times in a row now, and have no plans to stop´┐Ż
Packaged in beautiful textured paper sleeves, some blue, some red.

review c/o aquarius records in San Francisco

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