After 2015’s The Great Mortality, I’ve been really looking forward to this one. On Negotium Crucis The Internal Sea offer up a compelling cocktail of classic second wave black metal, with a few added ingredients to spice it up. This is a rawer album than its predecessor, with more atavistic first wave influences and black ‘n’ roll elements shining through in the music, and less modern, sophisticated ones.
On Negotium Crucis the band have regressed to an older, more primordial state, but this doesn’t seem to have harmed their effectiveness one bit; if you’re looking for something more adventurous and experimental, then this isn’t for you. If, however, you’re a fan of the classic sound of bands like Darkthrone and Satyricon, and you love black metal that stays true to its foundations, while also having its own personality and bite, then this is definitely an album to spend some time with.
There are some exceptional moments of malevolent blackened groove on this album. These are occasionally pierced by the sort of blisteringly lethal speed that just reminds you of how much power black metal can have. A dark heart of cold aggression fuels The Infernal Sea, and on Negotium Crucis this is given voice with great potency, no matter the pace.
The songs work within the classic blackened template like they were born to it. This is the real deal, and the band’s obvious passion bleeds into every second of frosted distortion and rasped snarl on Negotium Crucis. This sort of music could easily sound stale if done poorly, but here it sounds vital and alive with malignant energy. With quality songwriting and performances, these songs are very moreish and effortlessly enjoyable if you favour the style.
The vocals are mainly traditionally delivered screams, and these are performed perfectly for the music. Other styles appear, however, including some Bathory-esque epic cleans and other Celtic Frost-ish heavy metal vocalisations.
This is traditional, icy black metal, and The Infernal Sea have done themselves proud. Negotium Crucis is a very strong album that deserves a prominent place in any classic black metal fan’s 2020 collection.
Very highly recommended.