When I first happened upon this record, I hated it as I felt that there was nothing really all that special about it. It all sounded quite similar to approaches that I've heard before from the occult black metal genre, and took at least four listens before the disc originally grew on me. After the ominous intro “Iao AI” I was greeted to three cuts that all contain the same exact tempo, which can be a bit boring, if not for the fact that the band have enough skill to keep the songs as a whole, generally entertaining.
Aside from “Life Is The Enemy” and closer “Black Mantra Mysteries” which both contain a bit more kick from the kit, we're generally immersed inside of a slower atmosphere (which I will admit is accentuated heavily by frontman Barghest) that seems to have been dragged out a little too much. This is just a little different from their more experimental stuff – it's a bit straight-forward and I suppose such an approach comes with time. You can only make really weird records for so long, after all. At least when they're playing more traditional black metal, they really seem to have a good handle of it, so surely that means something.
I feel that a lot of black metal fans will gravitate towards this one just for it's unhinged and horrific atmosphere – it feels very “black metal” and that's usually enough for most of the hordes who will undoubtedly praise it. This is their first EP after two full-lengths, but the band are still relatively unknown at this point. Hopefully, this more streamlined approach should cement them some popularity. I suppose for me, it's the simple fact that I've heard this style so many times that it's tough to really find an act that stands out.
Obviously, fans of occult black metal acts like will dig it, but users on Metal Archives have compared them to Valkyrja, Dysangelium and Watain (even though I'd stress early Watain.) This is all a convoluted way to simply say, “Well, the new Tortorum sounds like black metal” and to me, that's certainly not a problem.
(6 Tracks, 30:00)