MOENEN OF XEZBETH – Ancient Spells of Darkness… (Nuclear War Now! Productions, 2018)
Pretty much a new kid on the block, Moenen of Xezbeth from Belgium makes a positive impression on the first full-length. Their debut demo “Dawn of Morbid Sorcery” was quite a good entrance into the dark chasms of underground, but the really great things are happening here on this debut.
“Intro” comes in with some raw guitar pickings, Burzum and Judas Iscariot done this in the 90s, then comes “Into The Black Mist”, the first actual song, with its middle-tempo, dark and unpretentious riffs and simple eerie keys reminding of early Varathron, think of “His Majesty at the Swamp” .
“Oath of Malignancy” owns a lot to early Beherit, from the title of the song through the music there’s a lot of Beherit vibe here, apocalyptic guitar sound, slow chugging minimal drumming with the summoning, almost narrating vocals in vein of Nuclear Holocausto. “Pandemonial Curse” follows on the same Beheritian path of slow penetration with primeval riffs, those whispering/murmuring vocals, church bells and eerie atmosphere and… good song-writing! And there’s the screw. You need fine tunes, themes that works and Moenen of Xezbeth has that blessing.
The title track “Ancient Spells of Darkness…” is an uncanny slow requiem not too far in atmosphere from the first Samael recordings. Here the vocals try a different path than in the previous songs, and you must appreciate how much variety have the vocals on this record. From murmuring, whispering, narrating through yells and roars, but never gone into common black metal shrieks, the vocal palette it’s pretty much diverse. The closing “Obscured by Lunar Rites” starts fast comparing to the previous songs, and my mind goes jubilant back to the early Greek scene of the 90s Black Metal. Then the second part of the song changes into a mid-tempo with hypnotic riffs and tribal beatings.
Nothing “modern” or contemporary to find on this record. Moenen of Xezbeth went back in time circa 1992/1993 and made a strong black metal record in the manner of the second wave, neglecting the Norwegian style and following the Beherit/Samael/Varathron recipe of song-writing, which makes even more enjoyable these left hand path primitive chants.
by Rob, January 2019