Originally released in January 2009, IC Rex's Vedenjakaja (The Aquarius) is set for a "slightly re-mixed and re-mastered" re-release on vinyl in December 2011 (the vinyl edition is to be packaged in a gatefold cover with an 8-page full-colour booklet with lyrics and alchemical keys together with the original CD cover and logo poster). And judging by the promo material, this looks set to be the one-man Finnish Luciferan metal band IC Rex's swansong.
The songs are very atmospheric, darkly so (as you'd expect of course). Amongst the rapid and rabid black metal savagery are an abundance of soundscapes. There are doomy down-tempo passages, torturous atmospheres, open and slow agonised wastelands, vocal warbles that are unsettlingly evocative of a decaying church peopled with lifeless choirboys singing at the altar. The tracks are expansive and can be slow, punishing and gruelling, or blistering offensives that are simultaneously shadowy and grim with tormented and torn vocals. Structurally, the songs do tend to rely on the fundament of black metal savagery juxtaposed with slower, ambient and atmospheric passages. Some of the tracks can be a little inflated, grand for grand's sake, and so fail to have the intended impact as the elaborate structures mean that they aren't as robust as they should be. At seventy three minutes, Vedenjakaja is a demanding and, at times, an arduous journey, and the near-lo-fi production does diminish the experience here and there. There are plenty of good ideas and as many melodies here that deserve better production. And the off-key guitars and off-key vocals, no doubt intended to add an avant-garde edge to the tracks, hinder rather than help the pieces, and quickly become annoying.
But Cinatas' songwriting is focussed and sharp and he has a keen eye for detail. The tracks are elaborately structured with plenty of variety in sound and style and so are very ambitious in their scope. There are some exquisitely atmospheric passages painted across the black backcloth which Cinatas has burdened with his nightmarish visions and make for compelling, even inescapable listening. In his depiction of bleak visions, black atmospheres, and the barren landscape of the eternal quest for a sanity beyond the mind-forged manacles of this mortal coil, Cinatas has delivered something ethereal and absorbing. It's the ambient passages where Cinatas is most interesting with either melodically clean guitar played over open distorted chords and dirty bass or sprawling synth sounds. Of the fourteen minutes of the title track for instance, it's the atmospheric coda that again wins out. Maybe this is where Cinatas will head for his next project. In the meantime, if seven hymns to Satan plus two bonus tracks of black metal majesty interwoven with illustriously dark compositions appeals, then Vedenjakaja is for you.
- Prologi (Prolegomena)
- Valolanka (Thread of Light)
- Kristallipalatsi (Crystal Palace)
- Näky Hävityksestä (Vision of Desolation)
- Hautajaiskulkue (The Funeral Procession)
- Mestarin Ääni (Voice of the Master)
- Vedenjakaja (The Aquarius)
- Kaukomieli (The Wayward Wanderer)
- Punaisen Tulen Vihityt (Initiates of the Ruby Fire)