Do we really need yet another hypnotic, ritualistic, trance-inducing Black Metal album? Of course we fucking well do. I could never grow tired or bored of listening to records like Portae Obscuritas’ dark, obscure and evocative sophomore full-length, ‘Lvx Atra Aeterna’. There’s no diminishing returns when it comes to high-quality Black Metal. The more we get, the better.

While there’s not really anything on here that I haven’t experienced before in terms of the overall sound or feel, there should be no doubting the relevance of Portae Obscuritas, or their claim to a place around the Black Metal altar. Here, on a record that is unheralded and under-appreciated, we are treated to five outstanding atmospheric, occult, demonic spells – four of them of the substantial variety length-wise – bookended by a chilling, haunting intro and outro, every note smacking of evil, the varied vocals reminiscent of the devil himself.

It’s appropriate that the LP has been released by Lamech Records as there are clear stylistic similarities to the disturbing, unholy presence of label mates Hetroertzen and indeed LvxCælis, while I can also detect vague traces of Kringa and Hagzissa in the ghastly, shadowy matter emerging from the speakers, although Portae Obscuritas are neither as eccentric nor as outright unusual as their Austrian compatriots.

Essentially, what we have here is an excellently-crafted and –executed black mass, reeking of incense and cloaks and sacrifice, smoke and fog filling the air, dizzying, maddening, the sermon repulsive yet delightful, administered by baleful high priests, faces covered, twisted smiles concealed, preparing to penetrate the prey, the world outside irrelevant as we all get drunk on just another ritualistic Black Metal record.

Evilometer: 666/666