It’s rare that a band takes twenty years in between albums, but (and you probably saw this coming) that’s exactly the case with Sacrilegium and their second album, Anima Lucifera. Having made their debut with Wicher back in ye olde ’96, the band claims to be taking a more occult approach this time around, citing Yeats, Pessoa, and Leopold Staff as significant influences on their thematic style.
Establishing a hard, semi-traditional black metal style with room for melodic emphasis by the first song, “Preludium / Heavenwings Shrugged”, Sacrilegium continue from there to form an impressively-crafted album, one which flows from track to track without dropping a beat. Pounding drum-work and guitar shredding bring a hearty viciousness matched by the rough vocals, but there’s more to each of the eight tracks than simply belting out the venom, not that it disappoints on that count.
The songs really have a feel of pains-taking development, with their arcs and twists knit together in ways that highlight the individual moments while enriching the full construction. Intervals of mournful piano, sudden bursts of speed, sparing use of textural effects, and counter-rhythms are just a few of the techniques employed by the group, in ways that enhance the formative bones of the music without distracting from that vitalism. The beats and energy have a way of seizing bodily control even while stimulating your mind with complexity,
While I can’t call it perfect, it does manage the mean trick of being an album two decades in the making that doesn’t seem to have squandered any of that time. There’s a distinguished air to the rage, sophistication to the antagonism, and a fervent urgency that comes through with no hindrance from the time put into its development. Highly recommended, with the acknowledgment that it’ll take a few plays to reach full appreciation.