Corpus Diavolis - Atra Lumen album review
Enigmatic occultists put the songwriting in sharp relief
Arcane ritualism is a sonic, thematic and aesthetic draw for numerous black metal acts. The key to translating such otherworldly enlightenment, however, is to remember that songsare the lifeforce and any dark atmosphere that radiates outward is but a consequence. Purely favouringceremonialism over songcraft is to fall upon your sword – something the cloaked French occultists in Corpus Diavolis are keenly aware of. Atra Lumen is heavy on drama and espouses esoteric teachings with clarity and the right balance of malevolent musicality and gothic grandeur. The dizzying discordance of their fellow countrymen, Blut Aus Nord and Arkhon Infaustus, is eschewed in favour of a style more reminiscent of Marduk circa Wormwood, or even Funeral Mist’s plague-filled discography. Sure, there may not be much here that fans of black metal’s vast canon haven’t already experienced before, but, as they say, the devil is in the detail, and Corpus Diavolis’ arrangement of black metal’s Stygian tropes is done in such a coherent, provoking and reflective manner that their lack of boundary-pushing or individualism is forgivable.