Ordinul Negru- Sorcery of Darkness

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, October 4, 2015

I have to admit that aside from Negura Bunget and Dordeduh, my knowledge of Romanian metal is fairly lacking. But over the past year or so I’ve started to find more intriguing projects from the country, the latest of which is Ordinul Negru. Sorcery of Darkness is the seventh full length from the band, but the first to feature a full lineup, as previous efforts over the last eleven years have had Fulmineos handling all of the instrumental and vocal work. Based upon some of the songs I pulled up to sample Ordinul Negru’s previous material, it seems as though the move to a full band has also brought a significant stylistic shift from raw black metal over to a sprawling, atmospheric variant. The results speak for themselves, as each of the three tracks on Sorcery of Darkness have a lot of sweeping melodies and a harsher backbone that’s capable of completely putting listeners under their spell.

The material here is oriented towards slower, sprawling build-ups and that’s most evident from the track lengths, as the title track is ten minutes and closer “In ceas de Noapte” stretches things out to almost twenty one minutes. Ordinul Negru uses these longer spans of time to their advantage, providing plenty of twists and turns that are oriented towards atmospheric riffing and stunning soundscapes. The title track starts things off on the slower side, with plodding instrumentation that has more of a melancholic doom feel to it, but after a few minutes it transitions over to much faster black metal riffing that builds a wall of dense melodies and harsher aesthetics. This continues on “From the Ashes of the Mist” though there’s even more bite to the instrumentation on this particular song, making it clear that even with their changes in sound this band hasn’t lost their edge. What works so well about these pieces is that the transitions are completely natural, and Ordinul Negru is able to move from harsh walls to absolutely stunning melodies that have a warm and inviting feeling. This is most evident on the twenty minute closer, where there are some mellower interludes that have a bit more of a folk feel and remind me a bit of Negura Bunget. Not a minute is wasted, and this is one of those albums where the entire effort pulls you in from beginning to end.

Fulmineos may have done vocals on the other six full lengths, but this time he has taken up guitar/bass and new lead singer S. has been brought in. S. proves to be a perfect fit for the band, utilizing a higher scream that towers over the instrumentation and adds to the harsher elements of the sound. For the majority of the record the vocals come through as much harsher shrieks and screams, but there are some moments where they dip into somber clean singing and even a little spoken word which helps to give the performance some variety. Although Ordinul Negru’s atmospheric black metal is the type that’s oriented towards a lot of extended instrumental passages, the vocals help to make some of the climaxes even more stunning as the words echo and grow in intensity alongside the haunting melodies.

Sorcery of Darkness is a pretty significant shift for this long running project, but this new direction is one that is supported by strong songwriting and some truly jaw dropping moments. Ordinul Negru’s able to perfectly balance the harsher black metal aesthetic with some warm and inviting melodies that will keep listeners coming back for some time. There remains plenty of room for the group to further explore this direction, but they’ve already demonstrated they can hit peak levels of atmosphere and utilize longer track lengths with the best of them. This is another Romanian metal act that’s worthy of your attention, and I’m interested in seeing where they choose to go from here.

http://www.loudragemusic.com/

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