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Iubaris: Ars Sathanae II

Iubaris's debut, Ars Sathanae, was a well-balanced collection of black metal intensity that delivered as much in the way of diversity as it did in atmospherically charred soundscapes. Thus, Ars Sathanae II picks up where we last left the band, delving into ever-darkening depths. The demonic drums of 'The Winnowing' give the fiery riffs and Antares's venomous vocals an almost industrial feel and with Vulpus's sharp, trebly bass growling ferociously beneath the melodic guitars, the track somehow grows. Its atmospheric depth expands; the flames mount ever higher; and then, at its peak, the melody collapses into a brief acoustic arpeggio that closes this magnificent opening track. As with Ars Sathanae, it's the band's ear for melody that makes 'Swamp Fall Burial'. The folky, melodic guitar motif that drives the track along with the bass and vocal melodies is striking, the tracks elaborate structure giving the band space to exploit its potency. 'Day of December' is a devastating beauty, a crushing track that, once out of the gate, refuses to abate. When the track breaks down for the atmospheric mid-section, it's no less intense, the guitars working together to create melodies, harmonies, and discordant darkness that are as beautiful as they are tearing. This superbly structured track evolves deliberately and becomes an altogether mightier beast than first hinted at by the first eighty seconds. Amazing! Dragging the tempo down, the atmosphere of 'Terra Incognita' is dense, to say the least, the weight of the air permeating this track is of a leaden gravity. The frosted guitars that close the piece are as shards of glass, sharp, callous, and as hollow as the sounds of water and wind that segue into the EP's title track. Like Ars Sathanae, this EP concludes with an ambient piece that is every bit as haunting and chilling as its counterpart.

The musicianship is outstanding, the band's song craft is first-rate, the structures are superb, and the atmospheric aspects of the tracks echoing in the reverbs and layered guitar effects are so heavy as to be near tangible. If there are any flaws, it's in the production, but that's only because the impressive guitar work should be given more presence. Ars Sathanae was (and remains) an impressive debut, and Ars Sathanae II takes the musicianship and song-writing skills presented there to a new level. Essential.

Track Listing:

  1. The Winnowing
  2. Swamp Fall Burial
  3. Day of December
  4. Terra Incognita
  5. Ars Sathanae II

Added: April 15th 2012
Reviewer: Jason Guest
Related Link: Iubaris on Facebook
Hits: 2299
Language: english

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