The nightside musical arts of Ars Magna Umbrae leave the mundane world far behind, inspired by interests and ambitions that seek to explore other worlds beyond the sight of banal souls who creep across the earth in their daily trudges. Not for naught does I, Voidhanger Records describe the band’s new album, Apotheosis, as “an occult black metal journey across the shores of plutonian nights, through starless aeons and oneiric fields, to later plunge them into the depths of boundless devotion and joyous madness”.
The label also describes the album’s music as “a fusion of dream and reality”, and the music is indeed the stuff of waking dreams. It inspires the imagination, spawning visions that are simultaneously wondrous and deeply disturbing. “Immersive” may be a trite descriptive phrase, but it’s nonetheless entirely accurate in describing the effect of Apotheosis. Immersed within its sensorium, your mind may take you to unforeseen places, without any conscious direction.
It’s likely that no two people will experience the same visions, or find themselves in the same mental and emotional states. What follows, therefore, is only what this writer imagined in listening to the song we’re premiering today, “Of Divine Divergence“.
What flowered in my own mind at first was the thought of being alone beneath a crescent moon, floating on a fragile raft on a vast and hostile night-dark sea whose crushing depths hold unseen horrors. That was the effect of the attention-seizing drum pattern, the heaving waves of depressive indigo chords, and the traceries of mystical, unsettling melody. The music creates a form of sea-sickness in the mind, a queasiness combined with the fear of isolation in a desolate and undulating seascape. The harsh, senses-abrading roars of K.M. (Ars Magna Umbrae‘s sole creator) amplify the feeling of unnerving peril.
The music changes, its intensity magnified by jolting rhythms and fevered riffing, as if we’ve been swept into a giant whirlpool, which then becomes a frothing vortex of violence as the drums explode in blasting torrents and the music screams in despair, searing the mind. When the drumming slows and K.M. emits a frightening, protracted scream himself, the music changes again, becoming the voice of wailing phantasms, rising and descending on ladders of madness and bewildering loss.
That sound is mesmerizing, even though it’s deeply unsettling, and it is eventually swallowed in deep droning reverberations, as if we’re being carried, finally, into those crushing depths below. The glimmering tones we hear seem to be the phosphorescent lights of blind and mindless creatures, or perhaps the evanescence of ghostly presences whose bodies preceded us and whom we will ourselves soon become.
The music player below includes not only today’s song premiere but also the previously released track “Oracle of Luminous Dark“. As we’ve written before, that one is also a powerfully dark piece — magisterial and ominous, unearthly in its quivering and flaring melodies, both stately and tumultuous in its drumming, and scalding in its malignant vocal extremity. It sends chills down the spine and rockets the pulse, yet is spellbinding, especially in the magnificent extended dual-guitar solo (performed by G.G. of Cosmic Putrefaction and The Clearing Path) that consumes much of the song’s latter half. The band calls its music a “Manifestation of Chthonic forces of Death and a sonic portal to the Nightside” — and this song proves again that those are not empty words.
I, Voidhanger Records will release Apotheosis on August 21st, both digitally and in physical editions that include 12″ LPs, limited to 200 copies (100 Marbled Brown/Black, and 100 Black) and a 4-panel Digipack CD. The label recommends the album for fans of Nightbringer, Akhlys, Dødsengel, and Bestia Arcana.
ARS MAGNA UMBRAE:
1. Through Fields of Asphodel (5:00)
2. She Who Splits The Earth (4:24)
3. On The Wings of Divine Fires (4:20)
4. Apotheosis (4:10)
5. Mare Tenebrarum (4:54)
6. Oracle of Luminous Dark (4:55)
7. Of Divine Divergence (6:39)
8. In Tenebris Ignis (4:30)
Total Time 38:02