This year has been a great year for black metal releases and here is an example of great symphonic black art. Japan’s symphonic black metal supergroup Anguis Dei features members of Juno Bloodlust, Avsolutized…, Funeral Elegy and other bands to name a few. This year through Svart Records, the group has finally released their debut album Ad Portas Serpentium. The EP is only four tracks long and clocks in around 21 minutes but it is a fantastic debut for the group. The EP is layered with haunting melodies presented through the keyboards, memorable guitar riffs that intertwine perfectly with the rhythm presented by the drums and bass. The keyboard work gives an ominous, funeral dirge type vibe that floats through the heavy fog of unique black metal riffs and pounding drums. The vocals are one of the strong points in this debut as they are not just shrill black metal screeches only but feature death metal growls and different ranges of screams that create a cacophony of voices only found in the depths of hell.
With all of this, it is expected that with members of great Japanese black metal bands that this release would have to be really good and it really surpassed it all. Some parts can be very reminiscent of Juno Bloodlust styled songs but never crosses the boundaries completely. Each track brings a changing pace and sound to keep things mixed up without ever sounding like the same song on repeat. If you enjoy the golden days of old Cradle of Filth, bands like Juno Bloodlust and Sungoddess then this album is a must own. This is how symphonic black metal should be done and really looking forward to a follow up to this release!
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review by Neil Andersen