Review | MORMÂNT DE SNAGOV Emanates Dark Elegance on Exquisite Aspects of Wrath

            This Finnish outfit is known for devising a unique breed of hateful refinement, and now MORMÂNT DE SNAGOV, a name using Romanian in reference to Dracula’s grave, has crafted a fourth full-length embodiment of that quality titled Exquisite Aspects of Wrath. Its blackened essence joins with traces from other genres, along with various elements to infuse a progressive edge, and their detailed formulas aim to dismantle ideologies thriving on enslavement. Dynamic tones and settings are also formed through a strong melodic emphasis, and they merge leadwork and atmosphere with the heavier currents to synthesize Exquisite Aspects of Wrath. These structural interactions harmonize in darkness for a captivating effect, and MORMÂNT DE SNAGOV directs its favor toward embracing futility and a liberation from fallacious influences.

            Melody and atmosphere are prominently featured across the compositions, and they promptly generate a mist-shrouded enchantment on “Words Corrupted,” with noted shapes and synths that drift hypnotically over its bleak expanse. This effect is augmented by a flow in the beat, which typifies an overall rhythmic focus on mid-tempos and groove, but intensity soon blends with this method on “Themis Supreme” to form a unique militaristic rhythm. Its hectic course escalates when an imposing heaviness and tremolo melodies launch alongside blast beats, and these reappear amidst the slower pace reflecting a melodic despair on “The Dream Forlorn.” That tone is also conveyed as vocals deviate from their harsh rasp for a mournful sung delivery, and a comparatively upbeat tempo follows with detailed fretwork on “Nothing But Lies.” Areas of pronounced tremolo rawness offer another dimension to its sound, and “Bleed” builds a majestic aura through similar elemental levels, along with the different samples and leads integrated for further enhancement.

            Other points of potency include the closing dose of psychedelia and symphony on “Themis Supreme,” and it foreshadows their direct encounter on “Insignificant Perception,” where dark arrangements venture into a cosmic techno trip before the soloing peak is achieved. Synth notes persist in various forms while creating anomalous developments throughout, and “Saturated With Hate” demonstrates this aspect when a spacey passage interrupts its brooding disposition, which is spawned from melodies and the tonal menace of cellos and arpeggiations. Sometimes their presence is fleeting, as on “Eeaten From Within,” but they also evoke a lingering vastness on tracks like “The Vague End,” and a myriad of dynamic impressions are apparent from the interplay of these elements within each track.

            The riffing often merges with heightened melodic layers to form remarkable culminations, and this is first experienced on “Words Corrupted,” when an evocative lead haunts above the heavier rhythm as it slides into punctuating strikes. The impact is enhanced by vocals gravitating toward guttural depths, and a comparable effect is recaptured momentarily on “Themis Supreme” while multiple currents traverse the menacing distortion. This oppressive force also eases at points to reveal an expressive array, with thrashy outbreaks displayed in the solo passage on “Nothing But Lies,” and soloing periodically capitalizes on the power within these riff structures, as with the grand ascension on “Bleed.” Permeating death metal qualities are also noted, with one instance featuring heavy chugged and hammering riffs alongside a recurrent thrash essence on “Eeaten From Within.” It advances with dueling melodies that blend into chaos before reaching “The Vague End,” where the foregoing qualities gather for an expansive finale, and its riffs evoke doom as the atmosphere takes hold. Fretted details surface within other formations, and leadwork carries their tone into soloing that brings consummation with the melancholic immensity.

            Negative conditions stemming from religious or institutional influences are conceived textually, with “The ruins of hope” becoming “A fertile ground for extreme lies” on “Words Corrupted,” and the price of immortality is named when “The only thing you’ll have to do is die.” Suicide is deemed “The only worthy skill,” and war is a recurring symptom as susceptibility to these doctrines continues on “Nothing But Lies.” It observes how “Bloodlust on goes, humans as tools” while “Their views are twisted by beliefs,” and favor begins leaning toward alternative ideas with “Give in to sin” and “Let the darkness in.” An oblivious nature returns on “Insignificant Perception” through “Everybody’s sharing thoughts, yet no one seems to pay attention,” along with the gloomy realization that “Life is streaming down to nothingness,” and futility intensifies alongside the misanthropic tone describing “Hollow words” from “Shallow herds, with their efforts in vain.” The alternatives mentioned above reappear with awakened potential by suggesting to “Read between the lines, and the truth you just might find.”

            An unearthing of ancient powers is portrayed on “Themis Supreme,” which is based on a book series that I’m admittedly unfamiliar with, but some metaphorical link is detected in stating “This foreign tech is ours, information she devours” while “We cannot win this war, so what the hell is this then for?” depicts further conflict and futility. “The Dream Forlorn” also describes a place “Where all is gone” before an extreme is reached on “Saturated With Hate,” where “Darkness is concentrated” as “I watch the world burn.” Its misanthropy rises in the observation of “A species better unborn” whose “Existence is not only futile, but also violently harmful to the others,” and these views persist along with enslavement’s toll on “Eeaten From Within.” A tendency to “Choose the place for your grave, lay down and be the prey” is expressed amid references to “Giants” who “Command and we obey” as “This society falls down,” but defiance and liberation prevail when telling oppressors to “Leave us be” and “Die by your own hand.” A final resistance is demonstrated through “Torture me, rip apart my flesh, I will not tell our secrets” and “Whatever happens, come what may, I will never…” on “The Vague End,” which ultimately conveys triumph in lyrics merging grimness with resilience.

            MORMÂNT DE SNAGOV continues honing their craft on Exquisite Aspects of Wrath, and this opus exemplifies a melodic and adventurous style of black metal laden with various shades of darkness. Some lighter notes from other influences also appear, along with compelling points of intersection between riff structures, the melodies weaved throughout, soloing, and vocal dynamics, which orchestrate many intricate layers as their paths evolve. A uniqueness is contained within the tracks to make each one memorable and easily discernable from the rest, and they succeed at integrating progressive elements while keeping a malevolent energy intact. Exquisite Aspects of Wrath is a fitting title for the material presented here, and MORMÂNT DE SNAGOV wields its magnificence for an offering that should appeal to those seeking a different approach to the genre.

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