A new black star shines on the black metal firmament. Its name is Liber Null and last November they have released their first full length album, “I – The Serpent“, through the legendary French label Osmose Productions.
What this new group brings to the underground scene is devotion and a new breath. Not of fresh air, but of fire and brimstone. This three piece contains half of Italy’s Frostmoon Eclipse line up ( Gionata Potenti aka Thorns on drums and Lorenzo Sassi aka Psaalm on vocals), joined by the Dutch Ades on guitars and bass.
The style is black metal, with some melodic and acoustic parts which sometimes remind me of the great music Frostmoon Eclipse has played over the years. But don’t get fooled, Liber Null not only is not a copycat, but it has developed something of their own style. Sometime ferocious, sometimes slow paced but heavy as fuck, with lyrics that deal with the Devil, “I – The Serpent” is one of the best, underrated albums released in 2016.
“God is dead and god remains dead”. With this blasphemous statement of intent “The Unrepenting Son” opens the album, to make it clear right from the start what we’re dealing with on this record.
From the beginning, the first thing I noticed were the drums, which are absolutely amazing. Thorns is one of the best drummers black metal has ever had and on this album, more than ever, he shows and displays his skills and techniques with a savage ferocity. Blast beats, slow, double bass-ed tempos, everything is there and, together with the other 2 musicians, they help to create the sinister atmosphere which emanates from the 6 tracks.
Psaalm‘s voice is completely different than the one he uses in Frostmoon Eclipse, adding a haunted, possessed touch to the music. If I can force a comparison, at some points during the album his voice reminds me of Funeral Mist, the supreme monument of sacrilege in black metal, especially on “Below and Beyond” or “Dereliction“.
When you expect it the least, on several tracks Ades comes up with some acoustic guitar parts that contribute tot the originality of Liber Null‘s music. To play black metal in 2016 is no easy thing, due to the over saturation of bands and albums, but the way these 6 songs have been composed and played really makes “I – The Serpent” a very interesting and powerful release.
After 30 minutes of mayhem and devotion, the album comes to an end with the slowest song, the title track “I – The Serpent“. What a better way to close the final chapter of Liber Null than with a sacrilegious monument, whose pillars, deeply rooted in the putrid underground, destroy the foundations of heaven with the serpent’s fire and brimstone. A perfect song that features in almost 9 minutes all the elements the band used on the whole album ( slow and mid tempo parts, furious riffs, acoustic guitars, possessed voices and insane blast beats ) which majestically blend together to end this ritual of black sorcery.
To fully understand this album you’ll need to spin it multiple times, as with every spin something until then hidden will reveal itself to your attention: a riff, a moan, a chord or a verse. Basically, what this album does to you (it has done it to me, that’s for sure), is to manipulate you into liking it more and more, each song infecting your system slowly but surely.
What Liber Null has succeeded to do on their debut album was to take several parts from black metal and piece them together to create an extremely powerful and aggressive album. “I – The Serpent” is a combination of all the band members history, a reminder of their background, but which was provided with the master’s touch of genius.
If I were to rate this record, I would give it 10/10, for originality, music, cover, line-up etc. A masterpiece!
Liber Null – I – The Serpent track list:
1. The Unrepenting Son
2. Below and Beyond
4. Unholy Cosmogony
5. The Heretic’s Tongue
6. I – The Serpent