Review: Cult of Erinyes – Æstivation (Amor Fati, Dec 26)

The genre and culture of black metal has come quite a long way since its infamous origins in early 90’s Scandinavia, as new scenes, communities, and styles popping up all around the world at an ever-increasing rate. I don’t think it would be an overstep, however, to name the Germany-based imprint Amor Fati one of the most significant voices for contemporary black metal. Often focusing on bringing independently released music to physical media and a wider audience, the label either brought me or introduced me to many of my more modern favorites, including HWWAUOCH’s Into the Labyrinth of Consciousness, Pharmakeia’s self-titled debut, Mahr’s Antelux, and now Cult of Erinyes’ Æstivation (all of these are available for name your price digital download from the artists). Fitting right in with AF’s raw, oppressive aesthetic without sacrificing melody or succinct structure, Æstivation is a more concise effort than 2017’s Tiberivs, building to and from punishing blast beat sections with atmospheric interludes and developing riff repetitions. The array of guest vocalists of which the band makes use allows for a wide range of utterances, from distant howls and throat-shredding shrieks to guttural growls and throaty spoken word (the pained screams on “Nihil Sacrum Est” are definitely a highlight). Æstivation is a superb, well-executed celebration of both classic black metal tradition and more contemporary stylistic augmentations.