Tetrabestiarchy is the new album by the Italian black metal band Idolatria. It is book-ended by intro and outro tracks that are thematically and musically more significant than such tracks often are. Between them are four songs, each of them named for animals that occupy places in the myths of various cultures and that have also been associated with Satan as tools for the annihilation of other religions. The song titles give these creatures an arcane significance beyond their presence as features of the natural world. We are told this about what inspired such references:
“The descriptions of these four animals are inspired by a porphyry sculpture, dating from around 300 AD, called The Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs. It depicts the four rulers in charge of the entire Empire, instituted by Emperor Diocletian. The sculptural group has been fixed to a corner of the façade of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy since the Middle Ages. It probably originally formed part of the decorations of the Philadelphion in Constantinople, and was removed to Venice in 1204 or soon after.”
One of the four animals in this Tetrabestiarchy is the noctule — a name given to various species of vesper bats found in Europe and Asia, some of them golden in color. And it is the Idolatria song devoted to the noctule that we’re premiering today.
These references to both classical antiquity and infernal dominions are part of an aesthetic that includes the music rather than standing apart from it. There is indeed an element of classicism in these tracks, a quality about them that could spawn comparisons to orchestral compositions, even though they don’t have the usual sonic trappings of “symphonic metal”. And they are also indeed hellish.
All of the songs, including the one we’re presenting today, have a very distinctive personality. They’re elaborate, intricately structured, richly dynamic. They become journeys through grandiose torch-lit labyrinths, with each turn of the corner exposing a new experience — experiences of madness, violence, unearthly wonder, horrid magnificence, and lurid delight.
“Noctule – The Emperor of Scourge” immediately engulfs the listener in a torrent of hammering drums, pulsating bass, and a roiling and writhing mass of guitars. The sensation is segmented by blaring blasts of magisterial sound and bursts of rapid-fire percussive progressions, and augmented by shuddering roars and searing screams. The riffing flickers and blazes, while maintaining a feeling of crazed exultation.
The music undergoes a major transformation, almost falling silent while the drums tumble like acrobats. As the music gradually mounts in intensity again, the guitars generate a sparkling sound and they flare, almost like the brass section of an orchestra. The song again reaches a pinnacle of unhinged ecstasy and turmoil, but also changes again, softening and becoming moody, mystical, and mesmerizing.
If you let the player below continue to run you’ll also have a chance to hear a previously released track named “Vulture – The God of Last Rites“. And you’ll find that it’s just as fascinating and arresting as the one we’re bringing you today.
Tetrabestiarchy will be released on September 4 by Signal Rex, and as you can see below, it’s being presented in a variety of physical formats, as well as digitally. Physical pre-orders will become available here. Digital pre-orders can be placed now: