Deus Diabolus Inversus

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For reasons perhaps understood only by its citizens, starting in the late '80s Greece became a bustling market for classic power metal bands such as Manowar and Iced Earth, both of whom regularly perform in sold-out stadiums there, despite playing clubs pretty much everywhere else. But with the gradual rise to international prominence undertaken by Rotting Christ (Greece's own death/black metal champions), countless previously overlooked underground bands have surfaced from obscurity and obtained record deals. Horrified is among the most experienced, accomplished, and unique yet, and the band's third album, Deus Diabolus Inversus, offers an ambitious vision of modern symphonic black metal. Fearlessly imaginative vocal head-trips abound, and atmospheric keyboard and choral effects lend greater diversity and dynamic depth to violently outstanding cuts like "Requiem for a Caged Lust" and "Seven Gifts of Sin." Granted, fantastical lyrical freakouts such as "Ascending Path: A Star Child Is Born" and "Monolith: Test, Teach, Transform" may prove a tad too over the top for lovers of traditional black metal, and occasional interlude oddities like the gothic-acoustic recital "Once Upon a Time?" certainly push the cuckoo-land envelope into Kate Bush territory, but such is the risk of creative experimentation. All things considered, this is a complex and convincing work by a certified talent in the extreme metal field.

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