The Infernal Sea / ‘Negotium Crucis’ is a magnificently brutal beast

From The Abyss: 17 September 2020

UK Black Metal band The Infernal Sea return with their third studio full length ‘Negotium Crucis’ tomorrow (20 September 2020).

It’s predecessor ‘The Great Mortality’, focused on the Black Death Which swept across the UK and Europe from 1348 and the horrors that man inflicted upon one another as a result. ‘Negotium Crucis’, which translates as ‘most of the cross’ expands on this concept of medieval brutally.

The Infernal Sea – ‘Negotium Crucis’ (Apocalyptic Witchcraft)

Release Date: 18 September 2020

Words: Jools Green

This time The Infernal Sea return to the Middle Ages to explore the dark nature of the Knights Templar and their Holy Crusades, with tales of depravity, corruption, deceit and genocide re-affirming the sadistic nature of mankind.

This stands as an experimental album which bridges the gap between 2015’s ‘The Great Mortality’ and 2017’s ‘Agents of Satan’ EP, delivered with a raw Black ‘N’ Roll which is as compelling and engaging as it is diabolically raw and brutal.

While they have been experimental, they have done so while staying close to their Black Metal roots.

Regarding this album, the band told MetalTalk “The world we once knew has drastically changed. We live in fear of the unknown.

“As proclaimed Heralds of the plague, we warned of the oncoming darkness, a coincidence perhaps or strangely prophetic?

“The global pandemic is devastating society and with it the music industry is on its knees. We too have suffered delays at the hands of COVID-19, but we rise from the turmoil to unleash our forthcoming album ‘Negotium Crucis’.

“This album has been challenging, but we conquered all, delivering our strongest and most diverse work to date.”

“Hail the darkness!”

Cover of Negotium Crucis, from The Infernal Sea

‘Negotium Crucis’ is nine tracks spanning a hefty fifty-three minutes, that once again has that slight hint of ‘an eccentric Darkthrone’ quality to the sound, which for me is an absolute winner.

But that is just a small part of the overall picture.

It is also hugely engaging, because of the very natural dark ebb and flow to the pace. It is nigh on impossible to find any flaws here, so why bother looking, just concentrate what this magnificently brutal beast has to offer.

Opening with the icy and intense ‘Destruction of Shum’, the band waste no time getting started with this hugely impactful and engagingly convoluted track. They lose no ground with the next offering ‘Befallen Order’ either, which has a superbly brutal drive throughout and is completed by stunning closing leadwork of exceptional proportions.

‘God Wills It’ has a slower and crushing plod to the pace, where rasping acerbic vocals and deranged screams slice through as the riffs drive the track onward. A dark powerful listen.

The intense and unrelenting blackened drive is expanded further on ‘Field of the Burned’, as the drum work builds beneath, bolstering the sound further until the dramatic drop away midway. This allows for a more deranged edge of shouts and screams to the vocal delivery to be manifest, which are decidedly harrowing at times.

‘Devoid of Fear’ is a black and brutal onslaught that takes no prisoners as it rampages. The change in pace and direction is like a tactically planned assault on this killer track.

The title track ‘Negotium Crucis’ has an utterly engaging Black ‘N’ Roll groove, with a touch of Blackened Thrash added into the mix for good measure.

It closes on a deranged extended vocal tail off. Superb!

‘Unholy Crusade’ begins in a superbly sinister build, before slipping into some ear catching Black ‘N’ Roll punctuated with intense burst black riffs.

The fluidity and variance of this track is breath-taking.

‘Rex Mundi’ builds layer upon layer of harrowing blackness, before slipping away into the shadows to make space for the final dark torrent, the powerful, darkly emotive ‘Into the Unknown’. This has a compelling drive which ebbs and flows with dramatic fluidity across it’s seven minute duration.

Closing on the repeat line “Into the Unknown!”, which distorts more and more, it horribly and harrowingly, with successive repeats, sends a chill right down your spine.

This is very powerful and a superb way to end an album.

‘Negotium Crucis’ is an excellent album which gets even better with subsequent listens.

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