With the release of ‘Invoking the Abysmal Night’, Aegrus follows up their excellent ‘The Carnal Temples’ EP with seven new songs. And with it, it also follows the musical path taken on their previous release. Compared to the preceding full-length ‘In Manus Satanas’, the sound has a less sharp edge and is somewhat more focused on integration of the melancholy and melody that lies underneath. That also includes a further development in their already excellent dynamics in songwriting, and a further shift into a direction that sets them apart from the bands that simply copy what the stalwarts of the Finnish Black Metal scene have pioneered. Of course, the basis of Sargeist, Satanic Warmaster, Horna and Behexen is undeniably present but Aegrus certainly have a little bit of an own face. As stated before, this mostly lies in a further going sense of melody that continually lurks underneath and from time to time manifests in more elaborate solos. That doesn’t mean the band can’t find the gas pedal, quite the contrary. A song like ‘Through Devil’s Breath’ is more in the vein of Impaled Nazarene and even has a flair of Marduk to it in its more straightforward uptempo character, while ‘Temple of Ardent Worship’ and ‘Where the Forest Emanates Death’ have a strong hint of Dissection to it as well. There’s some beautiful melancholic riffs in this song, complemented with the feverish drums and croaking vocals. I personally think a track such as ‘Nocturnal Rites of Faust’ shows the band at their best, with a meandering riff at the beginning of the song (which kind of reminds me of Funeral Mist’s ‘Shedding Skin’) slowly developing into a gorgeous bluesy solo midway before the piercing cold and more melodic mini solos return for the remainder of the track. Or in ‘Those Who Hide From Light’, where the melancholy is enhanced by clean vocals and delicate solos lift the song towards the better tracks of the album.
‘Invoking the Abysmal Night’ is a more mature, diverse and organic album than its predecessors. It’s somewhat less raw and I’m personally not a huge fan of the snappy drum sound, but it’s certainly a step further into their own direction. Inevitably, comparisons with the bands that defined the sound of Finnish Black Metal will surface and that’s a badge of honor the band should wear with pride as they continue to discern themselves with their outstanding integration of melody into their music.