Formed in '01 and still going on with the original lineup, the Italian Sidus Tenebrarum have finished their debut album after one demo and one EP. I have no clue about the previous releases, but this one presents eight tracks of fast black metal.
The songs seem to have been thought out really well. The fast parts are balanced with slower parts, and the riffs themselves are fairly good, and far from boring. The songs also have a good share of smaller hooks in the form of little twists in the song progression, some short "mid-parts", and the guitar creates even somewhat unusual pieces of riffs amidst the actual riffs to keep the songs alive. The drums seem to be really active, and they create a good backbone for the songs. There's nothing too interesting or surprising going on in that department, but the drums fit the songs well and they sound enthusiastic and devoted, if that makes any sense. The vocals are hateful, somewhat high screams and shouts. They hold a good amount of power and they fit to the music, and the vocal patterns fit to the songs. You've heard such vocals before for sure, but it works.
Some things are still not as good as they should be. The songs seem to be a bit lacking in power; it would seem that the songs don't hold any high points that would really stick out, meaning that the songs are just the same from their beginning to their end, even though there is certainly a lot going on and there's a good dose of variation and twists. The songs just don't stick to your head. This can partly be blamed on the used sounds, though, but it's also due to the compositions that cause the record to sound too safe; it seems as the band didn't dare to execute all their ideas to their fullest. The overall feeling is not too Black Metal-like from this point of view.
The used sounds are distorted and clean, but still far from being clinical. The outcome is even pleasantly messy at times, partly due to the drums which seem to be constantly doing a lot of stuff, and due to the deep-sounding bass guitar. Still, the sounds are so clean that it takes power away from the songs. The fastest parts are a bit too messy, which also damages the experience due to the "messiness" sticking out too much. The sounds do too much damage to the aggression and feeling of the songs. The lyrics are a pleasant read and should provide one with something to think about, which is of course a pleasant surprise.
Although this record is good, it doesn't have enough high points that would separate the record from the mass and that would make one remember this record, or even to make the songs to stick to one's head. It's nonetheless a certainly good debut, and presents a band with talent and skill in both songwriting and musicianship, and overall riff sense. There's basically nothing wrong with the execution itself, they just need to make more bold choices in the future to become more memorable. For fans of a more modern approach to Black Metal this release is still most certainly a good buy.