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De Magia Veterum - "The Deification" (CD)

De Magia Veterum - "The Deification" CD cover image

"The Deification" track listing:

1. Eradication (1:27)
2. Thorns (4:26)
3. Passage (5:26)
4. Evoked in Poison (4:25)
5. Shall Not Take Form (5:33)
6. Purity (4:51)
7. The Deification (3:48)

Reviewed by on December 26, 2012

"'The Deification' is a high mark for the band, though it’s still as dense and unforgiving as the rest of their catalog."

The most atonal one-man black metal project since Ildjarn's early work, De Magia Veterum is confusing by most standards. This is avant-garde with added noise, a project that doesn’t have fans so much as worshipers. It takes a special kind of demented person to pop in a De Magia Veterum album and find joy out of its blurring black metal. “The Deification” follows last year’s “The Divine Antithesis” with more light-speed instrumental work and incomprehensible barking. It’s as difficult to get through as eating a block of cheddar cheese, but there are signs that the band may be reverting to a more dynamic state.

M, the lone letter the musician who handles De Magia Veterum goes by, has several projects going at the same time. This is his third album released this year, the other two with his equally unstable projects Gnaw Their Tongues and Cloak of Altering. With an output consisting of such cutthroat quality, it’s possible that this would affect De Magia Veterum. On the contrary, “The Deification” is about as complete of an album as the band has ever composed, fitting in at an appropriate 30 minutes.

What the brick wall of sound “The Deification” falls into does is give an unsettling feeling to every second of the album. What it may also take away is how fluent M is as a musician. Many may say it doesn’t take talent to play an instrument fast, but it takes talent to do so while being technical with the notes progression. The bass guitar, which can be heard crisply in the mix, is the most surprising inclusion due to its proficiency and ability to stand tall with the static riffs that would otherwise dominate the music.

For a band known to be obtuse with their music, starting out with an instrumental in “Eradication” is not the norm. That trait is not reserved strictly to the first track, as “Passage” and “Evoked In Poison” try out some mechanical sampling and shrill metal clanking. M hasn’t gone soft in the year since “The Divine Antithesis,” but has been able to find that appropriate middle mark between atmosphere and chaos. The closing title track is all about the latter though, so fans of the earlier albums should be satisfied with the upfront maniacal onslaught M happily dishes out.

Each album has seen De Magia Veterum at a stage of not only tangible anger, but a knack for not just being monotonous as bands like Portal or Ildjarn can be. The industrial sounds that vacate a good portion of “The Deification” would be used for despair from other bands, but De Magia Veterum uses them as a lulling interlude in the middle of songs. There’s a real sense of much-needed progression from M, and being a part of multiple bands releasing albums around the same time has not caused him to stretch himself thin. “The Deification” is a high mark for the band, though it’s still as dense and unforgiving as the rest of their catalog.

Highs: Fluent dynamics added to the noisy black metal, depth to the instrumental work, keeping the album to under 30 minutes was a wise choice

Lows: Tough to digest, geared towards a very small percentage of listeners

Bottom line: Almost impossible to get into on the first listen, De Magia Veterum's combustible black metal will cater to those who scoff at things like structure and form.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)