Not that long ago, I received a very promising message: Corona Barathri would install a totally new label, at the one hand as a (digital only?) distro for occult Underground Music, as well as for the release of some new Corona Barathri recordings. Well, when talking about this point, I am glad that that new label, called Speculum Diaboli Records, came up with two releases in the meantime: a split with Paranoia Inducta (which I will review soon), which is called Atra Mors, and the four-tracker Speculum Diaboli (the smart ones have noticed the connection in between the label’s name and the album’s title, I hope…). The aim, their sacrosanct goal is to bring Darkness to this world.
This new album got released via the known digital sources, as well as on CD (in envelop, yet quite limited) (there was an extremely limited special edition too, but that one is sold out). The album was written and performed by the duo Affectvs and Kein, and mastered by the latter at the IHF Studio. The artwork, by the way, was created by Merknet’s Satyrus Mortem, who you might know as well from his visual art for Moloch, and who contributes as session musician (amongst some others.
Speculum Diaboli has ‘only’ four tracks (once again with Latin titles), but the total running time clocks over one hour. Indeed, these pieces are quite lengthy. The album starts with Expulsio Sancti (Anathema) (13:39, and the shortest composition on the album), which immediately shows the occult attitude of the duo. It starts extremely doomy, with grim synth layers, distant chants, sampling (water drops) and evil invocations. After one minute or so, you’re invited to join the diabolic ritual, and things turn more obscure and malignant. Slowly on, this story moves on, with a lot of vocal types (from whispers over choir-like to grim throats and evil screams) and many levels of synth-waves. At 4 minutes, disturbing violin / viola gets used, at 7 minutes some organ, at 8 minutes and something energetic shamanistic drumming, and even some noisy details appear, to name just some unique elements within this whole aural spectacle. It seems like a frenzy experience, but there’s beauty behind this sonic orchestra too.
Next comes Iter Violentiae (15:52) a ritual invocation that goes on in a comparable vein. Mingling many layers of keyboard melodies with a huge diversity of vocals (including guest vocals by Valefor / Black Funeral / Akhtya / Psychonaut 75’s Michael W. Ford), different kinds of percussion, flutes (I think) and acoustic guitars (performed by long-time collaborator Ayzen Kaoz; think Nahemoth), this sonic summoning of evil spirits brings forth Luciferian rites and diabolical magic. This is a soundtrack for black mysticism and ritualistic malignancy.
Invocatio Diabolorum (16:11) opens with the same kind of, well, almost Flamenco-alike acoustic guitars (yet without the joy and happiness), accompanied by the guttural throat singing and background sounds (waves). This aural manifestation of ritual supremacy permanently grows, adding more vocal timbres, different sorts of percussion (chimes, wind bells, hand drum), painfully raped strings (cello / violin / viola), and so much more. It’s an initiation in Satanic arts, continuously evolving and progressing. After about six minutes, everything is getting quite harsh - a malicious atmosphere assisted in its asphyxiating obscurity by heavily droning injections at the one hand, and meditative hypnosis at the other hand (towards the end, once again, with these gloomy flutes). The gate is opening…
The album ends with the title track (18:07), a majestic revelation of evil powers. It features female vocals (by no one else but Stupor Mentis’ Erszebeth – adding a hint of ethereal, almost sacral, fairness), and a whole scala on vocal and instrumental accompaniment (like before, many layers of synths acoustic guitars, distorted violin, folk drums, and different background noises). This piece is like the conclusion, the epitome of this pernicious tale.
Sixty-four minutes of these rituals might be a hard nutshell to break, but endurance and persuasion might reveal so many grandiose aspects. Speculum Diaboli is not a collection of four individual tracks, yet a very cohesive adventure with a demonic message. Things appear and reappear throughout the whole voyage, disclosing hidden aspects and covert messages.
Cor Unum, Essentia Una sumus. Cunabula Barathri initium nostrum est. Immersum Barathri finis noster est.