Analysis | KRVNA Conquers Mortality on For Thine is the Kingdom of the Flesh

            Night has fallen once again, and it may last forever as KRVNA returns like the plague from Australia’s ruinous domain. It seems the lifeforce consumed during last year’s Long Forgotten Relic demo, along with the subsequent full-length feeding on Sempinfernus, has provided sustenance required for elevated levels of influence, because now this supreme vampiric force has extended its ferocity through a second full curse titled For Thine is the Kingdom of the Flesh. Its tales strike with a vicious edge while venturing deeper into ages long past, and their spellbinding allure will have prey walking voluntarily into a fatal embrace. KRVNA expertly wields sanguinary methods with splendor on this new encounter, and it offers a rare feast to sate those attending its Last Supper of the Damned.

            This deathly undertaking commences with choirs haunting on the title track, which then proceeds with a dark solemnity observed among its progressions, and their interplay between heightened tremolo and dense riff layers provides both with prominent moments during the advance. This notable songcraft is maximized when a solo shreds over the blasting pulse, and its haste relents for a series of flowing rhythmic alterations, where grandiose developments unfold alongside the percussive versatility. Keys augment the riffing while it becomes immersed in an ancient aura, highlighting the cold and immortal distinction of past releases, and a trance from arpeggiations also takes hold within its sustained enchantment. Further elevations follow in lead notes that reinforce clean and harsh vocal patterns, and this culmination seals the eminence of a title track, but it’s only the beginning as tremolos pursue multiple tortuous paths on “Gethsemane Ablaze.” These harmonize with currents of heavier majesty, and different shades amplify that radiance before a sinister presence emerges on “Veni, Vidi, Vici.” The dark allure proves irresistible here, with leadwork appearing in the midst of a wrath fed by clean and acoustic string sections, and the intensity thickens even more after frenzied drumming subsides. Unsettling vibrations conspire in horror with the pronounced vocal wretchedry, and they mark a complex elemental overlap evolving to snuff any remnants of light.

            Spirits awaken the aura of a distant age on “The Flaming Hordes of Basarab,” and its shadows pursue conquest when dissonant speed bursts rage alongside heavy strikes. The relentless pummeling of works like Panzer Division Marduk is recalled at points within this attack, and its percussive bombardment shifts to double bass for an effective compounding of leadwork. The halls of forgotten castles or catacombs are easily envisioned through other tremolo effects rising among the havoc, and those images expand with the dynamism of a piano section before arriving “In the Absence of Gods…,” where ominous shades are magnified by a slower rhythmic emphasis. The vocals incarnate a ghastly presence throughout, but here they hiss forth their undead menace with marked hostility, which matches the orchestrated tone as its severity escalates. A classic 90’s essence becomes rejuvenated by this contemporary summoning of darkness, and its impenetrability merges with the earlier grandeur in tremolo leads and soloing that surge defiantly toward “…Death Shall Have No Dominion.” Its vehement melodies and harmonics drive the ascendency, along with an intoxicated solo that leaves death transcended, and the bloodied chalice is raised again for a last fretted display of triumph while fading into eternity.

            Vampirism is central to the works of this blackened entity, with Krvna Vatra’s Balkan descent offering a unique perspective on the matter, and a venture into its surrounding lore and history continues by examining mortality on “For Thine is the Kingdom of the Flesh.” It compares Man to an “Obsequious ass” confined within “Perennial drudgery,” and the inevitable “Spheres of life and death,” which “Lay littered with corpses,” augment the grimness while leaving humanity “Flanked amongst ruin.” This miserable state is perhaps what drives an allure toward “Death’s eternal delights” on “Veni, Vidi, Vici,” a phrase alluding to swift and decisive conquest often attributed to Caesar, and here it applies to vampirism as a means of bypassing fated demise. The gothic and melancholic qualities of this nocturnal path are reflected in a “Dance beneath the sullen and poignant moonlight,” but one must first “Relinquish life’s harrow” and “Negate God’s utter false promise.” Antireligious convictions are apparent through those acts, and oaths involving “The Devil’s curse” also seal a devotion to the darkside.

            Biblical elements become a main focus on “Gethsemane Ablaze,” a title locating the place of Christ’s final prayers, and his fate is related to vampirism at multiple levels within its scriptures. Drinking “From the wretched blood of Christ” for “Life eternal and predilection to the night” offers an alternative view on Communion, and “Judas’ deed, the darkened kiss” then leads to his “Accursed resurrection” after “Agony and death align.” It’s interesting how this scenario resembles the process of vampiric transformation, and another connection appears in “There are those, whose teeth are swords, whose fangs – knives!” which is taken from Proverbs in reference to a being that kills the weak without mercy. Such ruthlessness continues when “The Flaming Hordes of Basarab” pays tribute to one of Wallachia’s earliest rulers, whose “Eternal bloodlust” and “Ineffable hatred” form an “Oncoming blood storm” that carves his notorious reign into history.

            The last two hymns resemble parts of a whole similar to the first two on Sempinfernus, and “In the Absence of Gods…” drifts “Into firmament gaping and dark,” where “The Great Old Ones” also dwell as “Eternity’s song now falters.” Death is embraced while showing disregard for consolatory ideas of afterlife in “Renouncing kingdoms come,” and this “Sempiternal” conversion is complete on “…Death Shall Have No Dominion,” with the vampire exercising its wrathful indifference through “Ghastly acts of terror.” Notable changes in perception have occurred as “The night perfumes with death,” but previous sentiments also remain “Entrenched in blasphemies” and with “Threnody enshrined.” Aims to “Befoul the stars of heaven, and outlive the gods of old” are carried “Adrift in ceremony,” and those supreme tendencies are matched by the insatiability of a blood thirst affirmed with “Consume In extremis, sanguine!” The fiendish spirit emanates vividly from these chapters, along with its nature of lurking between lines of myth and reality, and their variety of drawn connections elevates its intrigue.

            Fangs have pierced deeper into condemned flesh on this new chronicle, and the bloodline of its predecessors is strengthened by KRVNA’s instrumental craft, which easily invokes structures of prime and ruinous form within darkened realms. The traditional black arts are exemplified through these aural enchantments, but with a raw attack enhanced by calculated portions of other features, and their execution forwards a vitality consistent with the fierce and everlasting vampiric essence. An inherent grandeur develops fully alongside the menace, with evocative melodies and leadwork to send them soaring into night’s expanse, and KRVNA bares a distinct prowess for those tendencies that further illustrates the mystique. For Thine is the Kingdom of the Flesh leaves a lasting mark that deserves avid devourment, and like the vampire’s insatiable thirst, its wonders also instill a longing for future acts of conquest.

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