Album: Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity)
Release Date: 7 May 2021
City: Karviná, Moravian-Silesian Region
Genre: Black Metal/Atmospheric Black Metal/Avante-Garde Black Metal
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Adramelech – Vocals
Ska-Gul – Guitars, Bass, Composition & Sound Manipulation
Morion – Guitars
Sheafraidh – Drums, Engineering
Hekte Zaren – Guest vocals
When it comes to most genres of metal music, I am usually able to, more or less, describe how and what
the music makes me feel while having a very vivid, cinematic, and picturesque visual experience in my
head. Not only that, but, normally I have no problems when it comes to picking apart composition,
instrumentation, sound production, and various other elements of the music to see how it all comes
However, for the first time in my years of reviewing metal music, I am left completely and
utterly…perplexed. In a good way, but, still perplexed enough that, as I am writing this, any and all words
or thoughts I have that can describe my feelings towards the latest album by Czechian black metal
legends, Inferno, all but evaporate into thin air.
Now, while I realize that might sound like a bad thing, let me reassure you all that this is not the case. I
have no doubt that Paradigmatic (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity) has absolutely solidified itself as one of
the best metal releases of the year in my humble opinion. It’s just that what this band have managed to
craft on this album is truly something of a first time experience and, as the years continue on, I rarely
have such moments in my continuous musical journey.
So far, I have seen this album and it’s sound in various comments and discussions being compared to
albums from the French black metal outfit, Blut Aus Nord, to which I would agree if I had never heard any
of their material before listening to this record. Paradigmatic (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity) is nothing
like that of the former or anything else that is out there on the black metal market. Unique and special is
what I would label this experience but even then, those words fail to do it justice.
This album is dark. It is haunting. It is bleak. It is suffocating. It is truly a journey down into the lowest and
deepest pit of Hell itself. If music like this existed back in medieval times, this album would be the
soundtrack to Dante’s Inferno or even the Book Of Revelation.
Inferno really push the boundaries of sound production and composition with layer upon layer of
atmospheric elements taking from a wide variety of ambient music genres and even other genres of
metal like doom metal and subtle industrial moments. The record feels like one, big, cinematic journey
that is broken up into several acts with each chapter blending and flowing into one another flawlessly.
Another element about this album that is marvelously executed in the manner in which the songs are
composed and arranged. Just when you think you have got the hang of certain riffs, tribalism rythms or
drum beats, the tempo or intensity will suddenly soar or unexpectedly drop which will leave you feeling a
little unsettled and even uncomfortable.
The most perplexing of all features on this record is the mixing of the vocals. While I have absolutely no
idea as to how Inferno where able to craft such a hellish and abysmal soundscape, all I can say is that
the vocals are just as layered, if not more so, than the instrumentation and are the definitive element in
creating this sinister ambience. Screams and growls can most certainly be picked out as the main vocal
technique in the performance, but, there is also a lot more going on with some tribalism chanting, choirs,
clean vocals, anguished wails, terrifying howls, and eerie moments of strange, hypnotic dialogue.
The tone and mixing of the guitars is placed in a perfect sweetspot that allows them to not only give the
atmosphere of the vocals and synths a very rough sense of distortion, but, to create a stifling and
claustrophobic sensation of dread and terror as you continue your journey through to the final track.
Melodies constantly ebb and flow like waves of a cosmic sea between traditional tremolo picking riffs to
droning doom and even moments of blackgaze sprinkled in between. I should also point out the fuzzy but
thick bass guitar tone that really adds a lot of meat and chunky heaviness to the music that only adds to
the sensation of spectral, otherworldy horror.
The guitars are also complimented by some stellar drumming, not only in the sense that there is a variety
of drumming tempos that constantly switch between traditional black metal blast beats and more sludgy
doom rythms, but, the cavernous sound creates this epic and hypnotic effect that really sucks you in and
doesn’t let go.
This record is not about individual songs. It’s a journey. It’s immersive. It’s progressive. It’s about telling a
story through soundscapes that can only be subjectively experienced through the listener. Inferno have
truly pushed the boundaries when it comes to not just the signature Czechian black metal sound, but,
they have even exceeded the limits of what dark, ambient music is capable of. I’d even go so far as to
say that I wouldn’t be surprised if dark ambient artists started adopting elements of this kind of sound and
we would begin to see it appear more frequently on music labels and YouTube channels like Cryo
Chamber or Iron Cthulhu Apocalypse.
An immersive listening experience is what this album is all about and you can be assured that it delivers
on what it promises. It is a mood setter and a great one at that in its execution. Paradeigma
(Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity) is definitely an album for those with a taste for dreadful, terrifying, and
hellish soundscapes and will most certainly help pave the way for a new movement within the next
generation of black metal artists. Needless to say, I am extremely excited to see what this band have
lined up for their next offering and they have indeed gained a new fan.
If you have yet to listen to this album, you are doing yourself a major disservice. Go and listen to
Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity) now!
Written By: Russell Gainsford