Lunging at the listener with all the elements (some would say “gimmicks”...) that have come to characterize the modern “Orthodox” Black Metal sound – a moaned sermon-like vocal delivery, lengthy songs, fuzzy yet serrated guitar riffs, lyrics steeped in arcane occult lore – FIDES INVERSA definitely knows their way around this particular style, yet ultimately fails to deliver anything truly Earth shattering. Repeated listens may prove otherwise but as it stands now “Hanc Aciem Sola Redundit Virtus (The Algolagnia Divine)” (what a mouthful...) is not something that’ll find a spot in the upper echelons of contemporary Black Metal any time soon.
The mysterious Italian duo’s debut effort is not without any merit, though, as there is plenty to enjoy on here (I particularly like the vocal approach) and it is certainly a technically proficient and professional recording in its own right. Their brand of Black Metal owes a lot to BLACK FLAME, GLORIOR BELLI and ANTAEUS (specifically in terms of the guitar tone), a particular blend of styles at its most effective when delivered in short, sharp blasts yet the band took the opposite route by churning out four hefty songs that each clock in at over ten minutes apiece. They pull it off relatively well on opener ‘Decollatio” and “Homicidium”, mixing things up with a burlesque orchestral interlude in the former and a strangely bouncy yet totally fitting break in the latter. The rest of the album suffers from a lack of variety in places and even though the repetition never threatens to completely sink the album it nevertheless takes a large chunk of vibrancy out of the album as a whole.
I suppose when all is said and done “Hanc Aciem...” is a decent enough album but I can’t help but feel that it could have (and should have) been much more. This will supplement your Orthodox Black Metal stash nicely but rather check out “Blood Libels”, “Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice” and “Sworn To The Dark” first, m’kay...
(Online May 3, 2010)