INTERITUS DEI originally formed as a hardcore act, but by the release of "Unholy" in 2002 they had fully switched to a Gothic band incorporating elements of Power, Progressive and straight-up Heavy Metal. It's not quite as original as that description sounds, but I also can't really think of any direct soundalikes. As is so popular now in Gothic Metal, we have a trained female singer - operatic, but alto instead of soprano - and a male growler. Throw in a violinist and a surprisingly good/showy lead guitarist and we're cooking with fire.
"Isis Enthroned" seems like a fairly ordinary gothic rocker, a bit more up-tempo than you'd expect form the style, complete with the occasional progressive touch and a guitar surprisingly willing to solo. Unfortunately, one of the characteristic problems of the band is apparent as soon as bassist/vocalist Bogdan Boeru starts singing. While the instruments enjoy far better quality than on the MP3s I originally heard (on MP3.com, so legally, of course), but vocalists Ana Mladinovici and especially Boeru suffer from defective mastering. Ana's voice seems to lose some lustre, though honestly it's not clear if it's the mixing alone of it she's just not strong enough, while Boeru's monochromatic half-grunt, half-shout (the only remnant of their Hardcore days) seems to overpower the mic.
"Forbidden Epitaph" stumbles, but "Berzerkir" is remarkable for a repeated bridge that almost sounds like something off of ANDROMEDA's "Extension Of The Wish" before breaking into powerful verses. This song’s parts are betting than the whole, as there's not as much flow as one would like. The next three songs are a bit of a slow patch in the album, literally and figuratively, but it’s the calm before the storm.
"Bats In The Attic" smashes into a listener lulled into a sense of false security by the previous tracks. Just listen to guitarist Bogden Costea absolutely FLY on that solo. Somewhere Ross the Boss and Karl Logan are shaking their heads and saying "Damn, that kid is FAST!" Then Ana and, to a lesser extent, Boeru take it up and continue to run with great vocal lines, all while Costea injects shredding guitar runs. Awesome stuff. I absolutely love this song. There's even a little neo-classical solo used as a bridge.
"Estuans Interius" continues the goodness as Ana and a guest vocalist share a quick operatic intro before we get another typical and good INTERITUS DEI song. "Moondust" slows things down, but shows up “Demonic” (which is in the same style) by being interesting. The rest is acceptable to pretty good, except for a part on “In Praise Of Lilith” where Ana really just sounds bored.
Since this album, Ana Mladinovici, Bogdan Costea and drummer Cristi Barla left to form the Power Metal band MAGICA. Violinist Traian Boala also left, but I couldn't find any information about his current whereabouts. INTERITUS DEI hasn't released anything since. Both of these bits of news are pretty sad, as this is a rather good band. The musicianship is top notch without too much wankery and, while they're not out on the edge, they are distanced enough from your typical Gothic Metal act to have their own identity. It's not perfect, but overall this is pretty good. (Online February 19, 2006)