The title of Ventr’s debut EP — Numinous Negativity — is nearly perfect for the music. Numinous, Luminous Negativity might be slightly better. But the title has meaning beyond the sensations of the music and the visions they spawn in the mind. We’ll come to that momentarily.
The EP may be a debut recording, but it certainly doesn’t sound like a first effort. The band are Portuguese, and the EP will be released by Signal Rex (on October 9th), but the music doesn’t fit neatly into the kind of raw black metal aesthetic that you might expect from those facts.
As for the conceptual underpinning, we’re told that the title refers to “a spiritual and/or religious form of negative perception – the mysteries in the works within the omnipresence of the Devil.”
The first and final songs are explorations of this concept: “Omnipresent Abominations” deals with “the concept of (negative) illumination through the touch of the Devil’s abominations, through witnessing “His Works through the eyes of the Hanged Child”; and then “A Dagger to Worship” explores “the concept of Horrific Divinity, using the idea of the Trinity Dagger (Struggle, Cruelty, Iniquity), which represents a reflection of this Divine Horror in the mundane reality”.
In between those two, “Our Altar of Murderous Fanaticism” deals with devotion to this Numinous Negativity.
That first song, “Omnipresent Abominations”, is a thoroughly gripping experience which exposes where Ventr find their strength. They greet the listener in dramatically intense fashion, with blindingly fast blast-beats, dense swarming waves of raw yet luminous riffage, horrifying roars, and lung-bursting wails. Despite the fireball energy of the music, the cascades of melody and the febrile flickering leads have a tremendously beleaguered yet somehow glorious tone.
The song further plumbs the depths of that desolation when the drum rhythms shift gears into less feverish cadences. Though the drum patterns change frequently and the intensity of the riffing ebbs and flows, the song becomes a distillation of undiluted terror and anguish, creating a deeply unsettling atmosphere — yet it’s a transfixing experience, in part because it is so unsettling..
Where there was a feeling of madness in “Omnipresent Abominations”, “Our Altar of Murderous Fanatacism” begins like a solemn processional — but a processional of pain. The shimmering leads seem to straddle a line between ecstasy and agony, their bright and rippling tones shining through the blanketing cascades of surrounding sound. Again, the vocals are horrifying in their inhuman fervor and chilling in their intensity, and again the drum rhythms change constantly. As the music ranges low and high, it creates morphing moods of poisonous cruelty and awful despair, of terrible grandeur and paralyzing fear. The song’s title turns out to be a very fitting summation of the music’s sensations.
The band made a wise choice to follow the first two tracks with the instrumental interlude that shares the title of the EP. Through symphonic instrumentation dominated by long, slow bass tones, and accented by brief bursts of piano discordance, “Numinous Negativity” is in the nature of a dirge — slow, oppressive, and saturated in gloom.
Following that somber lament, the band close with the afore-mentioned “A Dagger To Worship”. They waste no time putting a chill on the listener’s skin with clanging, dissonant chords and flickering leads that seem like spasms of dementia. It’s a nerve-racking experience, but an intriguing one too, thanks to the drummer’s interesting escapades that accompany it. Eventually, the drummer starts vigorously blasting and hammering, and the riffing creates moods of tension and turmoil, as the vocalist bays at a blood-red moon. Those maddened roars are as frightening as ever, and the band again create an atmosphere of hideous grandeur with sweeping, panoramic waves of sound.
As the song’s title suggests, those vehement, clanging chords (which reappear and carry the song to its finale) sound like a methodical and vicious stabbing, measured yet blood-freezing in their sound. The vibrant trill of the lead guitar which accompanies that refrain is spine-tingling, as if channeling the very thrill of the murderous act.
As mentioned, Signal Rex will release this diabolical work on October 9th. But you can listen to it now through our premiere stream.