Review: Martyrium “Lamia Satanica” [Art Gates Records]

Review: Martyrium “Lamia Satanica” [Art Gates Records]

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This spring the Maltese melo/sympho black band Martyrium has returned with their fifth full-length album “Lamia Satanica” through Art Gates records. They are not very productive, usually presenting every five years new creation with a diligent attention. And no surprises or dramatic stylistic combinations, this kind of black metal has its roots in the 1990s, and their fondness for it is extremely great.

Martyrium is one of the most popular metal bands from Malta, and their reputation on a worldly extreme metal scene is approaching towards an iconic position, defining the second wave of symphonic and melodic black metal scene. The visual side of their music is also very important for this band, amply emphasizing the satanic philosophy and blasphemous topics with eloquent detailing of ritualistic nature. And in its pureness and traditional perspective, they set a great example categorizing sympho black metal of its prime times, but into a modern era.

The ominous pretense and solemn mysticism really engulfs all the aura of this album, it is soaked in vicious witchcraft and satanic ideals with enigmatic precision. Yes, they are very into this symphonic black, when Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth ruled the extreme scene, but with a more sophisticated and medieval strength. And the level of anxiety and frustration hammers away all the refined composure through the veil of majesty into a more real and darker world of desperation. And so meticulously “Lamia Satanica” is compiled, that the atmospheric prowess becomes almost physical.

Solemn and gloomy intros define all the mood of compositions, and the degree of symphonic elements is so high, that almost astonishingly becomes austere, creating the feeling of their mandatory presence. The songs are harmoniously integral, only the composition “End of my Realm” infuses some chaotic suspense with stormy sweetness. “A Stain on Hera’s Throne” sounds noticeably more modern, but without groovy and alternative vibes, while “Order of the Fly” hints on some electronic influence. Medieval atmosphere and church choirs painstakingly lead the cryptic lines in “Curse of Salvation” and “Order of the Fly”. But all these atmospheric subtleties can’t outshine the structural way of classical black metal; nonetheless the music of Martyrium still has strong extreme metal foundation. And this is the first appearance of their new songstress from Norway Sandra Misanthrope, adorning this sumptuous record with hellish screams and mystical howling, while the blast beats speed up, guitar riffs harden the sound, and unearthly keyboards shape the mood of the songs.

The ritualistic symbolism and Satanic worship enchantingly links “Lamia Satanica” to a canonical perception of black metal genre, so visibly displayed through the bright cover art. Yes, these Maltese musicians have proved their loyalty to black metal culture through so many points, so it’s no wonder, that with such a serious thoroughness and respect for the genre, “Lamia Satanica” confidently fills the gaps in the poor symphonic/melodic black metal scene.

Release date: March 19th, 2021

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