(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the first full-length by Exitium Sui, which will be released on November 27th by Naturmacht Productions.)
So from writing about an almost thirty-year-old band who just released their twelfth(!) album, now it’s time to pivot to a brand-new band who only came into existence earlier this year, and who are about to release their full-length debut.
As a certain modern-day TV star might say… this is the (NCS) way.
Now, despite being such a “new” band, Exitium Sui actually have a significant musical pedigree already, as mainman/multi-instrumentalist ES was previously a member of several notable Australian bands (including NCS faves Earth Rot and Deadspace) and is currently also a part of several underground European acts, most notably Lebenssucht and Humanitas Error Est (both of whom we’ve written about here before).
As a result you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Ad Personam is a highly professional, highly polished, and extremely confident debut that deftly straddles the dividing line between Black Metal and Doom, drawing on, and drawing out, the best bits of both genres.
Of course, some of our most loyal readers may already be somewhat familiar with Exitium Sui, as we’ve written about them several times before, including hosting a premiere of their second EP, The Sinister Business of Selling Hope, back in August.
What they may not know, however, is that Ad Personam was actually written and recorded before both Nuclear Sundown and The Sinister Business…, and that I’ve had a copy of it for around six months now, which means I’ve had ample time (much more than most, in fact) to really get to know it well.
Now, whereas the group’s “first” EP erred a little more towards the Doom side of their sound, and their “second” featured a much greater focus on the Black Metal side of things, their debut album certainly earns the “Blackened Doom” moniker by combining the desolate, DSBM-adjacent stylings of Shining, and latter-day Deadspace (RIP), with the mournful, morbid weight of Funeral Doom acts such as Esoteric and Mournful Congregation.
On paper this blend of Blackened inspirations and Doom-laden influences might seem like it would be a suffocating, life-draining experience (and, trust me, it’s certainly an unfailingly dark and unforgivingly bleak affair from start to finish), but ES has clearly taken great care to invest each and every track with a lethal dose of raw emotion and anxious energy – from the scalding bitterness and bone-grinding intensity of opener “Eviscerate My Withered Soul” to the soul-crushing slow-burn of closer “Which Fate Is Ours to Come” – which serves to make the music as hypnotic as it is harrowing, as dynamic as it is devastating.
What really makes this album work, however, is its use of poisonous melodies and pitch-black hooks to enhance the grim grandeur and melancholy malevolence of the music, whether it’s the sinister, Dimmu Borgir-esque synths of the “The Long Return to Nothing”, the tortured, trance-like riffs underpinning “Into the Conflagration”, or the suitably tragic beauty of “Tragedy in D Minor”, whose subtle symphonic embellishments and splashes of heart-wrenching clean vocals provide a compelling counterpoint to the song’s crushing, doom-laden riffs and grim, grisly growls.
Is it a perfect album? Perhaps not. Although, at just under thirty-six minutes, it’s concise and dynamic enough that there’s very little fat or wasted space to trim. But it’s undeniably a striking – often stunningly – assured debut from a project whose future already looks incredibly bright bleak.