Ghastly ghoulish growls and soul-shredding shrieks of the damned vie for supremacy on the scathing surface of ‘Clandestine Theurgy’, the utterly inhuman(e) third full-length ritual from Nocturnal Departure, Canada’s unholy purveyors of Satanic Black Metal malevolence and malignity. The dual vocal approach is but one of the myriad standout features of this 40-minute offensive, the insanely barbaric demonic propulsions conflicting and combining to conjure an unearthly chorus of cacophonous chaos that comes close to sending shivers down the spine.

Complementing the throat-ripping screams and howls, Nocturnal Departure delivers an insidious strain of evil-to-the-core primeval Black Metal musicianship that throws a noose around the neck of the human cattle and contemptuously spits disdain in the direction of Christians everywhere. It’s a potent brew, concocted in the very best traditions of seminal, church-razing Black Metal, and one executed with faithful class and uncanny precision.

Expanded to a quartet for this landmark release, Nocturnal Departure get the balance just right between raw, ferocious fury and infectious melody, these two clashing as fervently as the fearsome vocals. There are harmonies and hooks arcing and angling with intent throughout these nine glorious curses but the comfortingly-fizzing nature of six-string proceedings coupled with the distant rumbling of the bass and drums lends itself to a rather underground production and sound, which is in fact something of a paradox as the production is actually clear and transparent for a raw BM album. Perfectly organic.

It’s memorability and catchiness combined with raw, naked intent that make ‘Clandestine Theurgy’ such a fantastic, authentic and commendable album. While it is brutal, ferocious and unforgiving, it also soars majestically from start to finish – sick, twisted and timeless like the finest Black Metal abominations from the frozen forest.

Evilometer: 666/666