Aetherius Obscuritas

Fekete Orvossac: Black Medicine

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By the twilight of the "aughts," Hungary's reclusive one-man black metal wrecking crew, Aetherius Obscuritas, had already been active for almost a decade, producing intriguing albums rife with abrupt dynamic twists and improbable fusions of their chosen genre's old guard and its avant-garde. And, not surprisingly, Arkhorri's (for that is his nom de plume) fifth full-length, 2009's Fekete Orvosság: Black Medicine, carries forth in much the same fashion, by masking the versatile songwriting of this vocalist/multi-instrumentalist (only the drums are assigned to another, one Zson) beneath a grimy layer of buzz and fuzz to ensure its lo-fi credentials. Nevertheless, black metal gourmands will surely eagerly devour the fetid entrails disemboweled from numerous inspired tracks ranging from the erratically paced onslaught of "First Breath" to the surprisingly accessible, vocally eclectic (dirty, clean, even falsettos) "The Moon Shield." The astonishingly sweet melodic intro to "Freezing Embrace" and "In the Wake of a Remain Footprint" (say what?) offers further evidence of Arkhorri's fearless chance-taking, while the decision to cover Swedish heroes Marduk's "The Black Tormentor of Satan" and German power pirate metal legends Running Wild's "Black Demon," shows his willingness to give credit where credit is due for his many influences. All of these qualities lend an unusual amount of variety to Black Medicine, but don't be fooled: this is still a true-blue (or black) black metal album, which, needless to say, proves quite definitely that a spoonful of sugar doesn't always help the medicine go down -- not for the faint-hearted.

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