|Label:||I, Voidhanger Records|
There is no way out when we think about underground French metal, we always picture the claustrophobic visions typical of evil and brainy black metal à la Blut Aus Nord or Deathspell Omega. We don't have to stray too far from there in order to discover Absconditus, born from the ashes of Borgia and featuring members of Azziard and The Negation.
The project's name, in this context, might be a homage to Deathspell Omega's EP "Diabolus Absconditus", which in turn reflected upon the concept of "Deus Absconditus" hinted at in the Bible. The descent mentioned in the title ("Kατάβασις") can be interpreted both as a descent to hell — or human conscience, which is its equivalent concept in this philosophical system — or as a challenge to God to manifest in our plane of reality, putting an end to his status of "hidden". The cover artwork (by the British artist Bethany White) clearly flirts with the infernal theme with its granular and obscure style.
But let's talk about music: here are more than forty minutes of skillfully reckless black metal, delivered by a core of not really emerging musicians (although at their first official album under this name). The instrumental intro swiftly welcomes us into agony, and from that moment on pace and horror will only increase, contributing to render our situation humanly impossible. Absconditus know what they're doing and this album is the perfect follow-up to the demo released in 2012 — only including "Elegeìa (Confession Au Cénotaphe)" — with great work by Loxias (guitars and bass) and Anderswo (drums) at creating demoniac atmospheres for "Kατάβασις", without forgetting about a few more melodic passages here and there (like the solo on "Exultet – L'Aurore Schismatique"). On top of it all, the amazing performance by the session vocalist Aliexagore (also known as Abrvpt with Morgon) in all four of the tracks that have lyrics. The hypnotizing outro "Le Nouvel Astre" seals the record, although it is probably the least effective track of the album.
In conclusion, the Italian label I, Voidhanger Records really knows where to search and we can't but welcome with interest their nth discovery. Absconditus are recommended to fans of this particular strand of black metal, and to people that would like to get closer to it with something a bit less complicated than Deathspell Omega and friends.