If there was to be a dark underworld, rarely seen in daylight, where The Sisters of mercy reined supreme and where dark-clothed disciples of the horned one sipped absinthe to industrial strength dance beats, then the soundtrack would undoubtedly be provided by this lot. Created by the infernal minds behind De Profundis and Seth, Ad Inferna will assuredly not appeal to everyone, being a touch more tinged with dance than metal for some tastes, but it is still classy stuff – a heady brew of Rammstein, The prodigy, Sisters of Mercy and NIN – that will see rock club dance-floors seething upon its release.
Upon placing the disc in my player I initially thought I had been sent the wrong album by mistake, until V. V. Arkames’ doom-filled voice cut in over the clunky synth washes to create an undeniably gothic atmosphere. Coupled with sampled guitars and a snarled chorus that is reminiscent of late EBM protagonists Nerve Factor, the band give off a resolutely old-school feel but with a few modern production tricks thrown in for good measure. ‘Metamorphose’ sets the bar higher with creepier vocals and the guitars cranked up, but still with a strong sense of melody and those thumping techno beats that are guaranteed to get the dance-floor heaving. ‘Redemption’ surfs in on an eerie bass-line, while ‘SM for SM’ uses breathy female vocals to introduce the track. Interestingly the vocals are in a variety of languages; French, German and English all making an appearance, which can be somewhat disorientating, although it fits the music well, German being particularly suited to the well-disciplined beats.
Music serves many purposes; it can stir the emotions or set the blood pumping, Ad Inferna aim squarely for the dark and sweaty club floors and they largely succeed. Although this isn’t music I can see being played often at home (it is better suited to a huge PA with bass that could level buildings) it is still one of the more inventive examples of a genre prone to mediocrity and as such I’m sure it will find its way into the homes and hearts of dark-wave fans, particularly those who still adhere to the cult of Front Line Assembly and their ilk.