France has always been a serious provider of good quality extreme metal bands and during the years more and more bands formed to spread the gospel of the lord. Osculum Infame makes no exception, since this band is one of the veterans of the French black metal scene, its roots going back to 1993, the golden age of black metal, just before things started to fall apart.
In 24 years of activity under the banner of darkness, Osculum Infame have managed to release only 2 full length albums (along several EP’s and compilations), the famous Dor-nu-Fauglith released in 1997 (which became one of the milestones of the French black metal albums, both hated and revered at the same time), and Axis of Blood, the first album celebrating their return after the sleep of death between 2002-2008.
With an almost completely different line-up, (Deviant von Blakk remaining the only original member since the band’s beginnings), Osculum Infame has released the Axis of Blood on the French label Battlesk’rs in 2015. Since this album is going to be re-released at the end of this month, on the 30th of June (the original first press CD limited to 500 copies is almost sold out), I decided to honor this great release by writing some words about it.
A collection of 10 songs plus an intro, with a total length of 54 minutes make Axis of Blood a very solid black metal record with some discrete death metal touches. The first 3 songs, which are the longest of the album (over 7 minutes each), capture the whole essence of the album and reveal the true intention of the band: to destroy everything which has remained pure in a human being (even though the melodic guitar solo on “Cognitive Perdition of the Insane” can be very misleading,but believe me, it’s not, that solo is there with a purpose).
Vicious guitar riffs, frenzied blast beats and demonic growls, combined with double bass drumming and slow, atmospheric parts throw a veil of desolation and aggression over the listener who can do nothing but sit back and contemplate the ruins of what once was his life, now torn apart in the smoking ashes of hell’s fire. Maybe this is a cliche-istic statement but it’s a very accurate one and it’s backed up by the fact that the whole album, form the cover to the lyrics and the music is an exceptional manifesto that good musicianship and true devotion can work together and serve the same dark scope: love for the almighty lord and hate for the humble and weak (the gun shot at the end of “My Angel” is really impressive).
The alternation between fanatical speed and gloomy atmosphere is best underlined in the 8th track, “White Light“, which is like a memorial song played at a funeral on a bleak and rainy autumn day. After all the havoc which poured out of the speakers until this point, suddenly out of the blue there comes a violin which transforms everything into one of the most depressive songs a black metal band has ever recorded, without falling into the so called “suicidal black metal” t(c)rap.
The whole album is very well structured, with a solid set of songs which flow so fluently one after the other. I like the whole material very much, but my 3 favorite tracks are “Kaoïst Serpentis” which reminds me of the golden age of black metal – a violent track with great riffs and ferocious blast beats, cut off by an incantation -like break, only to resume again even fiercer than before, the above mentioned “White Light” with its sublime violin and “In the Ocean of Worms“, another violent piece of excellent black metal, sharp and deadly as a shiny razor blade.
The music on “Axis of Blood” is so good and addictive that you won’t even realize when those 54 minutes have passed. You’ll be left wanting for more and playing the “repeat” button of your stereo will be your only solution to welcome another black metal dose into your system . With this sophomore release Osculum Infame have created one of the most memorable albums in the recent history of black metal, an album that I’m pretty sure will be remembered many years after its inception written in blood.
If you want to do yourselves a favor and listen to some real satanic black metal, not the usual occult mumbo jumbo stuff which can be found almost everywhere these days, go here and you won’t regret it. You’ve been warned.
The Axis of Blood Track List:
2.Cognitive Perdition of the Insane
3. Kaoïst Serpentis
4. My Angel
5. Absolve Me Not!
6. Let There Be Darkness
7. Inner Falling of the Glory of God
8. White Void
9. Asphyxiated Light
10. I in the Ocean of Worms
11. Solemn Faith
Osculum Infame Line UP:
Dispater : Guitars
I L : Guitars
S.RV.F. : Bass
Malkira : Drums