Ars Veneficium – Usurpation of the Seven (Review)

Ars Veneficium - Usurpation of the SevenThis is the second album from Belgian black metallers Ars Veneficium.

I really liked 2016’s The Reign of the Infernal King; the band’s fiery black metal left lasting marks. A new album feels overdue, so it’s with great anticipation that we turn to Usurpation of the Seven and its 38 minutes of dark blackened mayhem.

Ars Veneficium’s music is barely restrained chaos channelled into black metal’s blistering form. Parts of this release sound utterly chaotic and bestial, yet the band know what they’re doing with the style and focus their raging hatred into songs that stop short of becoming unhinged. This way, their vicious and unrelenting assault is made more enjoyable than it might otherwise have been.

Yes, despite the pure venom spat by the band, they ensure that the songwriting emphasises their strengths. Furious melodies, blinding aggression, and grim atmospheres populate the album, while the singer’s serrated screams sound more wicked and cruel than ever.  There are blackened riffs on this album as sharp as razors, and just as dangerous.

While the band’s aggressive tendencies have been honed to killing points, Usurpation of the Seven is actually a more melodic affair than their earlier material. Rather than softening their sound, however, Ars Veneficium have somehow managed the rare feat of crafting melodies that make their songs sound even more lethal than previously. It also makes these tracks very memorable and moreish.

Usurpation of the Seven is the sound of a band building on their past work to produce an album that is superior to their first. Very highly recommended.

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