“This demo was the final release of Crimson Evenfall. Thanks for all those who have supported us. In the future, Thyrgrimmr and Strigoi Mort will play under the name of Musta Surma. Hail Satan!!!”. It’s hard to give a more fitting introduction to ‘Ad Inferos Ante Christum Natum’, the third and final demo of Crimson Evenfall, released in late 1997. This is the last release to feature bass player Krieg, and like the previous two demos has been recently re-released on vinyl by Werewolf Records.
After a brief keyboard intro, the demo starts with ‘Through the Ocean of Time and Oblivion’. Compared to the previous ‘Winterheart’ demo the production has a less sharp guitar sound and a little bit more prominent role for the keys, that once again are used only to create a haunting atmosphere and by themselves remain marginal in arrangement. That contrasts with songwriting that clearly finds the band add more dynamics and variation to the songs, in terms of change of riffs but also in pace. While the drums on the previous demos had pretty much blasted through the tracks, on ‘Ad Inferos Ante Christum Natum’ we find the band looking for a more frequent change in pace. This might simply be because Thyrgrimmr had become a more skilled drummer over time, and it certainly makes the music on this demo a step up from the previous material.
Like on the previous demo, the sound has more firmly shifted to that Les Légions Noires inspired Black Metal with melancholy and intensity but also subcutaneous melody and a dose of groove. In other words, ‘Ad Inferos Ante Christum Natum’ is another step closer to the sound of Musta Surma and what we now know as raw Finnish Black Metal. The biggest difference is obviously the use of keyboards which are absent in Musta Surma, but the feeling and the riffs are very much along the same lines. And even when keyboards take a larger role, specifically in ‘Endless Velvet Darkness’ it does not detract from the raw and nihilistic sound of the band.
Besides the original material this re-release also contains a bonus track in the shape of ‘Shadows of Diabolical Evernight’. With a clearly less guitar-oriented production, the song takes a different, more atmospheric and depressive tone. While I personally find the keyboards a bit too loud compared to the guitars, this once again shows the progress of the band and is a welcome piece of bonus material to make this release even more appealing.
Without claiming Crimson Evenfall was one of the founders of that typical Finnish sound, the material on this demo is a clear demonstration of the quality bands lurking in the underground in the mid 90’s. One also can’t help but see that Crimson Evenfall must have influenced some others to delve into this sound. And in extension, it explains the cult status of the successor Musta Surma in the blooming Finnish Black Metal scene. A lot of old demos are re-released these days that often only cater to nostalgia. That is far from the case with this Crimson Evenfall material, that in today’s ears sounds fresh, exciting and very much worthy of being available to those that worship raw Finnish Black Metal.