Release date:05/06/2017
Label:Sun & Moon Records
Limitation:777 copies

Secular Compendium

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  • 1.
    Veritas Filia Temporis I09:45
  • 2.
    Veritas Filia Temporis II13:35
  • 3.
    Slave Cults of Idolatry10:32
  • 4.
    Ninguna Devocion09:27
  • 5.
    Bringers of Misery10:30

The Review

I have been listening this release for some time now and I am still trying to form a clear opinion about it. I refer to Selbst, an one man band from Venezuela, and their most recent release “Secular Compendium” that I must say that it has its strong moments. This album is a compilation of their first three hard to find releases, released in a minimal, dark digipack edition, limited to 777 copies by Sun & Moon records. It contains five tracks of about fifty-four minutes of dark and intense Black Metal and the tracks are taken from different periods of time, so you can see the evolution of the band since its first demo.

The music you will find here is dark, atmospheric, melodic Black Metal which combines brutal, violent feelings with the melancholic – depressive ones. The Scandinavian Black Metal scene of the ‘90ies has its share of the band influences, although their main influence is Deathspell Omega. As I said earlier this album has its strong moments and you can discover them from the beginning of the album. The atmosphere that the band creates is so thick and dark that will impose the listener from the first few seconds. The variety of the riffs and the changes during the evolution of each track is another strong element of the compositions and as I understand, one of the main characteristics of the band. However, there are also some weak moments that may distract the listener and won’t let him enjoy the album. Firstly, I refer to the very long compositions, as the shortest one lasts for ten minutes. The band has made a descent effort to make the compositions interesting by presenting a variety of ideas, with a lot of tempo, feeling and atmosphere changes, however not all of them are interesting. Instead of putting so many ideas into one composition and hit the listener with so many passages and bridges which serve little or no purpose, they could have chosen their most interesting ideas to present and evolve.

The performance of the instruments is very good. The guitars are clean and warm but at the same time they put out an impersonal and distant feeling, giving to riffs the character they need. They deliver the compositions with accuracy and technique. The bass is clean and warm too, it fills the space very well, while there are some parts that it becomes the leading instrument, something very interesting. The bass also delivers its lines with passion and high-level technique. There is no indication that the drums are performed by a drum machine, although I think there is no drummer, session, guest or permanent, in the band. Despite that, I liked the drumming a lot as it has a very nice sound and it has interesting lines with a lot of changes and appealing, brutal parts. The vocals here are performed by Frozen who, I think, has left the band after these releases. His performance is intense but quite flat, with not many changes and limited ways of expression. The production is bassy, dark and clean, as it gives the impression that every composition was recorded the same period. The lyrics are contained into the cd and they are written in English. They mainly refer to humanity and they criticize its evolution through time, in other songs with a skeptical approach and in other ones with a furious and hateful one.

In conclusion, the band shows signs of evolution through time and this is something very positive. All of the tracks have interesting moments, but the later ones were more interesting for me (Slave Cults of Idolatry, Ninguna Devocion, Bringers of Misery). This album was a nice introduction to the band and made me curious to listen to their later releases. I am sure that their fans will appreciate this compilation as now they can listen to material difficult to find. If you are interested to get to know Selbst, “Secular Compendium” is a great introduction to their music.