Ignis Gehenna is the solo project of Nihilifer, former vocalist of highly regarded black metal force Erebus Enthroned.
It has been some time since Ignis Gehenna last released an offering (2010’s Revelations of Sinister Rebirth). Baleful Scarlet Star arrives after a silence of near on seven years.
Throughout Baleful Scarlet Star Nihilifer has managed to not only build upon Ignis Gehenna’s past works; he has constructed a work that in my opinion far surpasses it. Atmosphere, aggression and articulation are present throughout the recording. The album begins with ‘Serpent Oracle’ which features a mid to fast-pace that continues for the duration.
Something I must comment on is the pacing of the album itself. The six tracks comprising this range in length from near six minutes to ten minutes. With that said, this is not a simple exercise in length. There’s more than enough here to keep the listener enthralled. Nihilifer’s vocals, which for me have always been a high point, shine here as a means to both propagate his lyrics, and propel the music. His delivery is suitably raw for the style of music which Ignis Gehenna perform but at the same time it’s clear enough to be easily comprehended; a feature which seems to be a rare feat amongst a lot of modern black metal.
I commented earlier on the range of length present in this album, and how the album benefits from the pacing. It’s the longer tracks here that captivate my attention, particularly ‘Edict of Blood’; a track which can almost be seen as a microcosm of the album itself. So many elements and atmospheres are woven into the track. It functions as the best showcase for Nihilifer’s vocals, additionally, as here they range from authoritative to contemplative, and anthemic. Instrumental ‘Anamnesis’ ends the album on a high note.
Overall, this is an accomplished effort, and if Nihilifer chooses to continue taking Ignis Gehenna down this path, I can only imagine it working to positive effect.
1. Serpent Oracle
2. Baleful Scarlet Star
3. Edict of Blood
4. Melas Oneiroi
5. Litany Unto Thanateros