Some might look at the symbols on the record and automatically assume that this is another one of those occult black metal albums. I thought the same myself, especially after having been thrown hundreds of them last year, few of which did anything for me. I am an occultist myself, but I feel that perhaps the whole “occult black metal” thing is a bit too cliché. Which is why I've rather enjoyed this third full length from the Serbian act, as well as it's more atmospheric doom/death approach to the same subject. De Secretis Nosturae Alchymica is the kind of occult atmosphere that has balls. It really feels like Hellraiser, with the vocalist reminding me an awful lot of Doug Bradley's iconic Pinhead. It even feels like the Coil crafted soundtrack was a part of this listen (but Coil were and still are very deep occultists) which sounds perfectly fine for the atmosphere we're trying to convey. The record is half horror film and half doom/death, which I'm simply delighted by. The vocals on this record are simply unreal and positively jaw-dropping. These filters are positively amazing, and without question something I'd expect to hear while trapped in the abyss. Of course, I've always been the kind of guy to marvel at things like that. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the “how evil can we sound” sort of ideal, which is something I've always loved about this kind of music. So seriously, how damn evil can we make it sound? Well, for me this record is pretty damn close. Though others might think it a little too theatrical and cheesy. Yet I think that ruins all the fun. Temple Of Gnosis personally might look at this review and see that I've called their very deep and mysterious record “fun” but I'm simply enjoying the hell out of this thing.
From a technical standpoint though, we're essentially getting symphonic and heavily atmospheric doom/death which utilizes an amazing vocal filtering software that I would abuse the hell out of had I knew what it was. I can't seriously blame this guy for utilizing it as much as he does and would have to thank the creators of such a program, as we're getting closer and closer to making man sound like the literal embodiment of a demon or perhaps even the devil himself. Temple Of Gnosis is the one record that I think a youth pastor would literally flip out over had a kid brought it in, with the whole congregation following up to the reverend himself. De Secretis Nosturae Alchymica is the living embodiment of what most Christians would believe “devil music” to sound like, and it would very much portray the kind of stereotype of a record that was made in the pits of hell. They might freak out over Marilyn Manson, but he's tame compared to something like this. Quite simply, this album feels to me like Clive Barker's world come to life. I even think that he might enjoy hearing something like this personally, even in his older age; just to know that it exists and that he may have inspired it years ago. Temple Of Gnosis have made the kind of record that seems more birthed in Midian than Cradle of Filth's disc of the same name, as it embodies the demonic underworld mindscape in which few dare to tread.
That being said, it's obvious from the lyrics that several occult topics are being discussed here in a non-joking manner. Though the grim (and I do mean grim) atmospheres are still here, if we took off all the filtering, killed the keyboards and muted the guitars, we might actually get some rather interesting occult philosophy in which to ponder. There's obviously a lot of symbolism here, as is in the best of music I find – and your job would simply be to listen and decipher it's meaning. Is it literal symbolism, or does it mean something else? You're just going to have to pick up De Secretis Nosturae Alchymica for for yourself in order to answer that question. Seriously folks, this is one of the best atmospheric death metal records that I've ever heard in my entire life, and would recommend it to anyone looking for the most “evil sounding shit” possible. This is the kind of music that will freak out most conservative parents and grandparents, it's the complete opposite of what anyone would want their kids to listen to. It's quite fearsome and might even frighten people, which is definitely a plus. I'm not even going to lie here folks, you might just give Granny a heart attack with this thing. In my personal opinion, I feel that De Secretis Nosturae Alchymica is a perfect record. I just can't say enough about how deliciously evil this one sounds. There are very few albums out there that are even remotely like it. Unfortunately, they aren't going to be able to follow this style up if they choose to continue it with another album. I wouldn't want to hear another De Secretis Nosturae Alchymica from these guys and would be very upset if that's what they were to give me in the next few years. In other words, this is literally as good as it gets and I hope they'll be able to floor me with something equally as interesting in the future. No pressure though, right? At any rate, please go pick up a copy of De Secretis Nosturae Alchymica if you're looking for something that sounds truly evil and don't mind something that might come off a little bit cheesy as well. That being said, I love this album and would consider it one of 2016's best by far. Please give it a listen.
(7 Tracks, 46:00)