Luctus / Argharus - _Sonitus Caeli Ardentis_
(Ledo Takas, 2007)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (6.5 out of 10)
Lithuanian black metal newbies Luctus and Argharus sound fierce and misanthropic, therefore unmistakably underground. Although their approach to music differs little from the genre-defining Norwegian godfathers, _Sonitus Caeli Ardentis_ has one major advantage: the admirably high quality of production ensures the otherwise overtly aggressive tracks don't sound like muddled noise from somewhere underneath this wretched earth.

First on the split storms one-man project Luctus; a straightforward, militaristic black / thrash hybrid, relying mainly on speed and sheer force. The slower sections reveal some heavy metal influences, while the lyrics and logo suggest more than just sympathy for Lithuanian nationalism. The six Luctus tracks are fairly interesting, compensating with intensity where there is a lack of good ideas.

Argharus' contribution consists of four tracks of definite old-school aesthetics, which might either be referred to as "deep ritualistic intensity" or simply as "Mayhem / Darkthrone worship". The sound is still great, though the approach is rather necro, truly in the darkest Norwegian tradition. Variation is limited to the absolute minimum, while repetitive guitar riffs form the main part of the songs. Not bad for a debut, but still far from impressive.

_Sonitus Caeli Ardentis_ is a statement of purpose, if not a proof of greatness. It is up to Luctus and Argharus to better themselves by adding more musical diversity to the aggression and speed they obviously master quite well.


(article published 24/7/2007)

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