REGNAT HORRENDUM "Dogs of Christ"
Regnat Horrendum is a 2-piece Russian Black Metal project from the guys who also run Moongates Guardian, along with having experience in a handful of other bands. These two play a form of Symphonic Black Metal that mixes in some Burzum and a more stripped-down version of the avant-garde stylings of Arcturus, which they insist be called Heathen Black Metal. That might make their music sound really interesting, but honestly, even after two or three spins, I can barely remember a thing about this album. There are some unconventional ideas on here that stand out, but not quite enough to make up for how unremarkable the rest of this is. They clearly have the ambition and maybe even the chops to make some compelling and individual Black Metal, but despite a lot of effort, they are not really there yet. Pretty good, but not worth getting worked up over.
REGNAT HORRENDUM "Dogs of Christ"
Some artists are so productive that they release two, sometimes even three albums during a year with their main band or with their side projects. This is not always good as in most of those cases, the material released is at best mediocre. So, I was really skeptical with the duo from the Russian band Moongates Guardian which is releasing at least one album every year since the year they were formed. On top of that, they have created a side project called Regnat Horrendum in 2017 in order to channel their Symphonic Black Metal creativity and since then, they have already released three full length albums, two Eps, some singles and a split album. Dogs of Christ is their second full length album firstly released in 9 January 2019 as an independent release both in CD and digital format and then it was re-released in CD format in 5 April 2019 by More Hate Production from Russia. The album contains nine tracks of a total forty-four minutes of duration where the band unfolds its Symphonic Black Metal inspiration. As they did in Moongates Guardian, their compositions heavily depend on the scenery and atmosphere created by the keyboards. The role of the guitars is to support the keyboards, so their riffing is mainly basic and rhythmic. The style of the music is a mixture of melodic, atmospheric Black Metal with symphonic, neoclassical elements, creating an elegant and majestic result, images of medieval kings, palaces, the luxury but also the pain and suffering under the tortures of that time. The duration of the tracks is not too long, about five to six minutes, while the compositions have a lot of variety regarding the pace, the riffing and the images presented. If you listen to the entire album, you get the impression that it is a concept album and in each song the story progresses, by the different expression and the different images presented by the band. The lyrics are included into the six-page booklet but they are written in Russian so the only clue that you can get about what they speak of, comes from the titles of the tracks. I guess they speak against christianity and its false preaching, about old gods and witchcraft, war and violence. Although the titles suggest the above themes, the music shows completely different images. I could have been more specific if I could understand the lyrics. Skilar Blackwings, the musician responsible for all instruments has presented a quality performance. Each instrument has its role into the composition, important or not, and has its own character. Of course, the keyboards are the most important instrument in Regnat Horrendum. They create the scenery and the vivid atmosphere and with every alteration or different melody that they play, they present to the listener a new image, a new path into the journey the album takes us. The guitars are a supporting instrument, limited almost in setting the rhythm of the track and a solid body to the melodies of the keyboards. The bass is audible and gives depth to the compositions but nothing else. The drums have a flat sound and I guess they are produced by a drum machine. They are not bad but nothing special, they are stable but they lack in passion. The vocals are very theatrical and passionate, harsh Black Metal vocals which are giving a feeling of darkness and hatred to the compositions. The production is clean and bassy promoting that elegant, majestic and glorious feeling. The mixture is good, highlighting the keyboards and maintaining the balance between the rest of the instruments. Dogs of Christ, is a mediocre album. Although, the compositions, the instruments and generally the overall attempt is good, I feel like something is missing. Moreover, the result, musically, is too close to the music that the band presents in Moongates Guardian, so if you want to find a different aspect of their inspiration, you won’t. If you are a fan of majestic, melodic, Black Metal or a fan of Moongates Guardian, then buy this album as you will appreciate it for sure.
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