For those who know and truly understand actual underground black metal, MONS VENERIS require no introduction. For nearly 20 years now, this shadowy and insanely prolific Portuguese cabal have pursued a uniquely vile vision with an unquenchable thirst. From hammering primitivism to medieval melancholy, volcanic drone to chaotic oblivion, nods to the French Black Legions to frequencies far outside of metal, there’s never any guarantee of how MONS VENERIS’ vision will manifest itself – only that they’ll explore a darkness few have the constitution to tread.
And so it goes with their fifth album, Inversados d’Um Abismo de Podridão, which is intended as a homage to the original wave of Portuguese proto-black metal – namely Black Cross, Filii Nigrantium Infernalium, and Summum Malum – and thus is their native tongue invoked here. MONS VENERIS full-lengths come when they come, always with countless EPs, splits, and demos in between, but rarely are a summation of what’s come before; for example, see the unsettling experimentalism of 2016’s Sibilando com o Mestre Negro, comprised entirely of classical guitar and violin. And while 2020’s Mistérios Satânicos Disformes Infernais featured two half-hour improv-heavy compositions, Inversados d’Um Abismo de Podridão sees MONS VENERIS pursuing more song-based chunks of coruscating violence and primal-scream therapy. In other bands’ hands, such a return to more palatable “songs” would spell insufferable normalcy, but MONS VENERIS are not like other bands. Each of the album’s eight songs shimmer with harrowing hues of disgust, dread, and disease; sometimes they headbang, sometimes they’re hummable, and sometimes they implode upon themselves; but most of all, they CHALLENGE the listener to withstand – to withstand not only the “noise” presented, but more so the NOISE within one’s soul, that calls unfalteringly and seductively, truth and taboo devouring each other like the Ouroboros. Or, simply know that Inversados d’Um Abismo de Podridão was not made for you.
No other words needed: this is MONS VENERIS. A more righteous and rigorous exploration of black metal’s original unorthodox impulses one will not find nowadays.