In Cauda Venenum - _In Cauda Venenum_
(Emanations, 2015)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
Emanations is apparently the most promising young label (in this case, a sub-label of LADLO Productions) operating on the Western part of Europe nowadays. Both of its debut releases (this one and Profundae Libidines' debut album) are superb, both by a couple of French acts that excel in the fine art of songwriting. Both of Emanations' bands write and play passionate music, first and foremost; when your music is passionate, most of the flaws are forgiven, and eventually forgotten. But we don't hear flaws here, either. Do we?

While The Metal Archives announces this group's style is post-black metal, I can safely tell you that In Cauda Venenum's music is pure black metal; emotional and warm, yes, but still very much the essence of black metal. It's dark and melancholic, sometimes violent and vengeful, atmospheric to a certain degree and transcendental. It is also quite basic and in parts charmingly anachronistic, but mostly it is played well, exhibiting some hauntingly beautiful riffs and structures, while sounding extremely passionate throughout.

I don't get all this post-black metal thing, or what exactly the criteria are to be dubbed as such; I can intuitively assume what post-black metal sounds like, but _In Cauda Venenum_ is most definitely not a part of this movement. Not that there's anything wrong with being 'post' something, but why call a perfectly black metal sounding album by any other name?

This album has got balls, big ones; the band -- as pretentious as it may seem -- have written a couple of 21-minute long tracks packed with sonic goodies. Think of a 21-minute long track; seriously, think what are the chances that a track of such length would pull off the trick of being capable of mesmerizing the audience from beginning to end, in -this- era of fast-living and information overkill? Now, cut this chance in half. Think of the channels you switch on your TV and how fast you flip those without even moving from your sofa. In this braindead, brainwashed generation of ours, holding the attention of someone for fucking 21 minutes would be close to impossible. In Cauda Venenum's music does more than that: it makes you completely oblivious of a world out there, and focus entirely on the intimate relationship you have just established with the album, for it will grab you and pull you hard toward its secrets, doing so with those couple of long, vast, epic, adventurous tracks presented on this recording.

The adequately dubbed "Alpha" and "Omega" are a delicate, marvelous, exquisite and precise work of art. The band have checked every aesthetic box related to the art of metal, and in some unthinkable way created one of the most beautiful and advanced recordings the metal movement has bestowed upon mankind.

_In Cauda Venenum_ uses incredibly melancholic lines reminiscent of Wolves in the Throne Room's debut album, _Diadem of 12 Stars_, without really transforming into an all-out Cascadian sounding outfit, without surrendering to the natural force that's pulling the music toward the shoegaze-y and without the need to sound extremely suicidal or ridiculously depressive, in the fake kind of way most depressive / suicidal (that deserved quote-unquote) black metal bands exhibit.

If you want to listen to some really sad music, _In Cauda Venenum_ is a good place to start. Every riff here is dripping with sadness galore, every moment a heart-wrenching melancholic array of notes and moods the likes of which are rare and far between. It's a blend of beauty, finesse and emotional roller-coaster all packed into a couple of long, inspired, imaginative tracks of epic proportions that will leave no heart unscathed or indifferent.

Contact: https://ladlo.bandcamp.com/album/s-t-3

(article published 8/7/2015)


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