Part of black metal’s draw is its ambiguity when it comes to the artists who produce it. Pseudonyms are modified and sometimes outright changed depending on the project, other members, musical style and aesthetic. What is the message being put across? Is it hails, horns and laying “down your soul to the gods rock and roll”? Is it esoteric explorations of the Lesser Key Of Solomon? This determines your entity, dress, and the true aesthetic of what the band/project is.
I have an idea this is what’s been done with France’s ZËLOT, but as it’s all about the art, let’s move on. No intro, no pointless meandering, just the scour and shred of ‘Liquid Abyss’ to begin Supplices, and it’s the early-mid ‘90s all over again. Austere moments arise, gazing imperially down as NZ and OD conjure baleful blizzard beats and treble-led terror. ‘Chrysalide’ commences, gossamer yet full-sounding acoustic guitars the perfect purple mirror to the onyx of the opener, almost EMPYRIUM or NEST-like in its luster. Soon enough, though, we’re ripped from our lulled mood to raging malevolence, but here’s the thing; ZËLOT may be a new outlet, but don’t mistake the fresh shine for the members’ level of experience, the duo clearly having paid their dues and worked their magick in other outfits before – and it shows in the arrangements.
Haggard and ragged, ‘Splintered Soul’ continues the punishment, while closer ‘Skogen Ende’ brings crawling dread at first, then a NARGAROTH-tinged riff surfaces and drags us to the end, battered, bloody, awash in keys, clamor and victory.
Overall, the spirit of Supplices is one of reverence for that glorious second wave of black metal. While there’s nothing “groundbreaking” here, we’re left with the feeling that ZËLOT may be only gathering its strength.
Review By: Lord Randall
3 / 6