The Infernal Sea – Negotium Crucis (Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings)
Ever since their 2016 breakthrough record, The Great Mortality, The Infernal Sea have been busy infecting the UK black metal scene, gradually dragging more souls into their realm of ancient pestilence and terror.
Much of the quartet’s success has been based on their ritualistic live shows, where the band, clad in robes and plague doctor masks, have refined their macabre identity.
However, their rise has also been propelled by some fine BM songcraft – and songs like Way Of The Wolf and The Bearer ensured The Infernal Sea could boast style and substance as they assaulted the festival scene.
Their third album Negotium Crucis – centred on the rise and fall of the Knights Templar – should see the East Anglian act reach even greater heights.
Well, it’s not necessarily a better album than The Great Mortality.
But by pushing up the black ‘n’ roll dials, the band could reach a wider audience.
The likes of Befallen Order and the stunning title track bear a punky strut, a diabolical, catchy groove, which could open the gateway to new acolytes. And this is a harsher sounding, more primal record than its predecessor too (think Taake, rather than Winterfylleth), an approach which suits the sanguine offerings of Destruction of Shum and Unholy Crusade in particular.
The raw riffs and rhythmic barrages are contagious, the writing taught and assured.
And like The Great Mortality, it’s an opus that, while retaining a core focus, has more than one hue to its bloody palette. Devoid Of Fear, for instance, mixes headlong battle charges with muscular, mid-paced thrashing, while ominous closer Into The Unknown is bathed in melancholy and after a barrage of blastbeats, fades out with one last, blackened Goth gasp.
We might have to wait a while until The Infernal Sea take to the stage again. But with Negotium Crucis, they’ve opened a new chapter in their fen-born horror story – one that is compelling, confident and hits like a knight’s mace.
Check out our recent interview with bassist C.R – which covers the making of Negotium Crucis – here.