Majestic is the element that shines most from Ravenoir’s latest effort Cultus Inferi. The eight-track opus is not only a safe bet, but in musical form it represents an unyielding band. At the same time, its members realize that development is what is valued and counted. Even so, this year’s album can be surprising at certain moments for fans who know Ravenoir’s work.
It was written on October 31, 1541, when, according to official data, Michelangelo completed the painting in the Sistine Chapel The Last Judgment. This year, this day was also associated with the release of a new album by the band Ravenoir, which is led by Alesh AD, a native of Studénka. In this case, it should not be the last judgment. At least not musically.
The Ravenoir did not deviate from their path. They continue to remain faithful to the extreme components of metal, mostly black metal in its various forms. The compositions retain their musical darkness, the essential feature is a certain coldness, as is already typical for the band, the contrast of faster songs with those that are conducted at a medium tempo also stands out.
Nevertheless, it can be said with success that Ravenoir also significantly pushed the melodic saw in his compositions. And the most in its history. All this results in the fact that most of the compositions have acquired an epic or anthemic feel.
There is no doubt that other line-up changes influenced the final form of the album. To Aleš AD (guitars, vocals, keyboards and in the fifth track Requiem even drums) and permanent bass guitarist Igor Hubík were joined by drummer Zbyněk Husa and solo guitarist Jiří Háb for the current act. In other words, it is the quartet of musicians who made up the last line-up of the Root group, except, of course, the singer Big Boss. And it is this new composition that is signed by the fact that the presented songs are now clearer, more transparent and more dominant through melodic ornaments. A pleasant addition to the already recognizable handwriting of Alesha AD.
If one factor were to be determined which is pro Cultus Inferi distinctive, so it’s definitely musical persuasiveness. Thanks to the compositional variety that drives the individual songs, the songs radiate an absolutely inaudible self-confidence. It is not strictly a musical component, but it is so fundamental that it cannot be neglected.
An intensely urgent heartburn is especially contagious Crows’ Call, which, however, also included an impressive melodic still life. Just like the opening Glorification of Godlessness or fourth Confession to the Darkness. Black Luna, Belial’s Realm and Kingdom Amnesia on the contrary, they are songs conducted at a medium tempo, and although they are rather rolling and heavy, they can absorb you with their pleasantness. In addition, the last-mentioned one has a guitar solo that is either taken from a rock syllabary or from a guitar show. So irresistible. In a good sense.
To some extent, it may be surprising that Ravenoir came out with an album where half of the songs are of a slower tempo. On the other hand, it shows that the creative muse has not left the band. It remains faithful to the hardness and density of metal, but it also deserves praise for the fact that it still wants to come up with something new. It is not enough for her to settle for what is expected based on the works released so far. Right way.
The darkened cover, which is the work of Mexican artist Nestor Avalos, corresponds with the atmosphere of the album. Although the latter does not neglect classic metal elements, a certain unknownness is captured here, which offers several possibilities of interpretation and which is precisely that reason attractive.
Three albums in thirty-three months. That’s the balance Ravenoir has left in musical territory so far. This year is an example of the fact that the bar for high standards can still be raised higher and higher.
The last October can be celebrated as Samhain or its more modern version in the form of Halloween. Regardless of whether the listener leans towards any variant, if he chose to listen to the album during the celebrations Cultus Inferiit was a beneficial decision.
Ravenoir: Cultus Inferi. Total time: 43:15. Black Barn Music, 2023.