Over five years of precise formulation will soon be realized when a new Italian movement carries out its debut act of heresy titled Excommunica. This blasphemous incarnation is the first exercise in what’s been christened “Apostate Black Metal,” and it shows ARGESH radiating darkness to shed light on the perversity masquerading as righteousness. A variety of influences make up the fierce arrangements evolving throughout, with dim perceptions of light in some progressive elements and many other structures that delve into haunting tenebrosity. ARGESH crafts these forces into dynamic expressions of contempt and despair, but also of liberation, and Excommunica forms a merciless opposition toward hollow religions while promoting free thought over enslavement.
Ritualistic drums commence the renunciation on “Abiura,” and Armageddon approaches in the expanding symphonies while a spoken declaration of revolt leads to “Suffocate in Oxygen.” Instant devastation ensues with a barrage of blast beats, along with frenzied melodic intricacies that course relentlessly through sinister progressions. Choral notes enhance the dread of all this turbulence, which then shifts to a tremolo bleakness that traverses rhythmic variations and bouts of muted heavy riffing. Raspy and guttural vocals match these tonal fluctuations, and a progressive element also appears with clean vocals when the fury advances toward an atmospheric grandeur. An imposing gloom follows as the forces regather for a visceral solo materializing within their medium. The tormented ringing is slowly engulfed by chugging and tremolo contortions on “Source of Miracles,” with their collective energy soon unleashing its full assault. A darker turn is pursued after the brief optimism of one section, and harmonic points evolve in the heaviness of these formations until tremolos strike with sharp precision. This generates another melodic hellstorm, displaying more of the exemplary musical prowess typified in these tracks, and its ferocity delves into a slower dissonant passage that seethes with anguish and disdain. A solo maximizes this evocative impact, and it lingers beyond in the punchy riffs that reappear with haunting choral voices. These revelations are upheld in a final attack after compounding the atmosphere with a spoken recording.
A dismal tone emanates from the tremolo melodies on “Praelatorum Pedophilia” as they proceed somberly through various planes of disorienting complexity. The chaos relents for a transient brooding effect, followed by a surge that expands into a methodical flurry of notes augmented by ambient undertones. The resulting transition combines tremolo harshness with crushing rhythm for a power that reverts to frantic blasts and melancholy. Religious expressions are glimpsed during a break in the intensity, and they’re answered by glaring arpeggiations before a fury is unleashed that remains unforgiving until its guttural conclusion. Doom is foretold in the projected voice on “Apocalypse 20.7-8-9,” and malevolence is conjured as other effects merge with the eerie melodies creeping through heavy rhythmic pulsations. A growing momentum launches the wrath of percussive and melodic multiplicity, which alternates with grim passages reflecting desolation, and the opening arrangements return with a hostile industrial quality after the prophesy’s completion. Madness yields to the instrumental and vocal embodiments of total majesty on “The Elohim’s Mark,” with the ascendancy of an epic finale sustained throughout its elaborate drum patterns and melodies. A solemn elegance is favored over the brutality from previous tracks, but those punishing elements still emerge in a display of rhythmic vehemence leading to a solo. It extends into deep oscillations before soaring clean vocals carry this elated splendor to the conclusive solo that fades with its transcendence.
The spiritual façade also undergoes lyrical deconstruction starting on “Abiura,” and its Latin meaning is fulfilled by a renouncing oath before the defiance escalates on “Suffocate in Oxygen.” It describes the doctrine led by a “shepherd that rots,” with an oppressive stench repulsing those outside its falsity and corruption. This contempt progresses into a search for meaning elsewhere on “Source of Miracles,” and a venture through the universe of the inner self reveals its diabolical form, which is then freed to address the abominable acts committed by holy representatives on “Praelatorum Pedophilia.” An interesting scenario portrays Satan as the savior and avenger for youthful innocence defiled by those who should embody the highest morality. A merciless execution continues with the end becoming on “Apocalypse 20.7-8-9,” and unholy torment ravages “the Divine” after the seventh seal is broken. A transformation seems to occur across these hymns, and it culminates on “The Elohim’s Mark” with “the lamb within ourselves has been sacrificed to the celestial beast!” Veneration of truth and individuality follows, along with further condemnations of “spiritual slavery.” These lyrics drive the purpose of Excommunica: to unveil the true nature of religion and encourage growth beyond the flock and narrow holy boundaries.
ARGESH delivers a compelling first demonstration with the vitality and detailed songcraft on Excommunica. No time is wasted in its 31 minutes as the compositional density brings a storm of vicious melodic progressions and pummeling force, with the intensity demanding a comparable effort for its navigation. This is modern black metal filled with scorn for institutionalized faith, along with the liberation of severance from its dominating influence, and these impressions are effectively conveyed through various manifestations. Progressive nuances combine with sampled recordings and other sinister orchestrations, which enhance the majesty and gloom while epic leads carry them to heightened glory. ARGESH possesses a fierce musical capacity that will likely show interesting developments in the future, and Excommunica is an immense display of this new Apostate style that is decidedly welcome among wolves.