Opera IX Strix Maledictae In Aeternum

Opera IX Strix Maledictae In Aeternum

In the press release that accompanied symphonic/pagan/occult black metal band Opera IX's eighth full-length album, Strix Maledictae In Aeternum, the band photo features a naked woman with a full-on Dracula cape draped over her shoulders. She isn't a member of the band, nor is she a necessary part of an artistic photo composition; her entire purpose in the photo is to provide superfluous boobs (hey, there's a band name for you). This photo serves as a succinct and indicting metaphor for Opera IX's sound. They've been around since 1988 and, in many ways, serve as a time capsule for the European scene at that time ― black metal cacophony juxtaposed against symphonic smoothness, allowing the friction of the disparate forms to speak for themselves. The problem with this is, of course, that this innate disparity is no longer exciting, and relying on that for surprise is clumsy and out of date. Billing itself as a "lustful journey throughout the deepest and most macabre desires of man," the album comes across as tame and toothless, even silly. If this is supposed to represent the deep, most shocking and unspoken desires, it certainly falls short with out of date techniques and a surprisingly banal, vanilla reliance on the shock value of boobs and blood. (Agonia)