Ars Diavoli - _The Absence of Light_
by: James Montague (3.5 out of 5)
Although far from original, this one-man Portuguese band plays black metal of such a bleak and wretched variety that I can't help but be somewhat impressed. Guitar distortion is the name of the game, an endless stream of white noise with a dragging, monotonous pulse buried somewhere under the skin in a fashion that immediately reminded me of the indefatigable aural torture that Weakling presented with their solitary cult classic. The slowly shifting minor scale patterns, though predictable, still achieve that eerie, unsettling feeling during to the utterly impenetrable harshness of the production and the bloodcurdling screams of a tortured vocalist.

It's difficult to judge at this point whether Ars Diavoli will establish their own identity and place themselves in a class above the plethora of bands (mostly solo projects) producing the same kind of noisy, depressing, suicidal black metal. However, I can state with confidence that _The Absence of Light_ is a highly listenable demo tape that vividly captures the essence of the art and leaves its unwelcome footprint on the listener's mental state.


(article published 4/8/2007)

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