Unoriginality doesn't necessarily mean boring and that nothing good can come out of it. Although ARTHEMESIA doesn't have the most original vocals, most catchy guitar sound, or most unique anything, it still offers some of that good Black Metal of the symphonic variety.
"Devs Iratvs" gets technical and skillful at times, and sometimes it's driven solely by pure emotion. Chaotic, blast-beat sections revealing anger and hatred are mixed in with some melodic and atmospheric segments. Playing symphonic Black Metal will definitely garner comparisons that will either hinder or facilitate ARTHEMESIA's rise in the Black Metal populace. Whether the comparison is a negative or a positive one is subject to the reader's preference. I say ARTHEMESIA is a more technical DIMMU BORGIR without a great drummer and keyboardist, but a better lead guitarist. A more melodic OLD MAN'S CHILD or just as energetic as CHILDREN OF BODOM but without the repetitive-riff syndrome from one song to the other.
Putting all these comparisons aside, ARTHEMESIA deserve the chance to carve its identity into your psyche rather than form your opinion from my comparative assessment - no matter how accurate it may be. One of the first things that left an impression is how good it sounds when the lead guitar plays slowly while the double-bass drums beat away in the background. Just like at the 3:30 minute mark of "Universal Black" or a minute into "The Breeze Of Grief," which is my album favourite. It's the most emotionally driven song in the entire album. It starts off slow in a romantic mood with a dark atmosphere, then joined by the melodic lead guitars and beating drums before a gothic-sounding voice speaks. There ends the romanticism as it's followed by music with a frenzied pace.
Another thing about this album is the melodic and very ear-pleasing lead guitar work. It's always a welcome component to my version of Black Metal. The evidence is in almost all of the songs on this debut. Most notably on "Ancestor Of Magick." Now for the annoying or "I don't get" part, it's the four and a half minute silence on "Whore Of The Satans Night." It's a ten-minute song, with the first five being the actual song, then the silence, and then some screams during the last twenty seconds. Other than that minor irritation, "Devs Iratvs" is a solid debut and thoroughly enjoyable. (Online November 30, 2002)