International black metal outfit Ars Hmu debuted its first full-length album on February 24th, 2022 via Amor Fati Productions. Featuring members of Gardsghastr, Chaos Moon, Musmahhu, Greve, Bekëth Nexëhmü and more, there is something undeniably melancholic on the debut album “Empire of Impurity”. The awe-inspiring arrangement of the guitars and synth comes with a majestic atmosphere that evokes bands like Emperor and early Setherial. Ars Hmu shows a creative grasp of melody and songwriting setup, the synth effects and acoustic passages are topped with tremolo-picked-riffs. The excellent drumming of Esoterica is followed by grim growls of Likpredikaren and the intricate guitar riffs/bass and melodies are impressively handled by Swartadapuz.
The opening track “Immoral Path” emphasizes cold hypnotic moments with the slow pacing drums shedding the role of the lead guitar work, and the subtle use of the synth that alters the mood. The unwavering patterns of the icy blizzard tremolos juxtaposition the blast beat sections perfectly, while these paradigms reveal the influences of the 90’s Swedish black metal. Thundering blast beats echo while the guitar expands its melodic scope creating profound dark emotions, and the tempo becomes increasingly varied. The ingenious use of instrumentation forges dark atmospheric moods, allowing the drums to shift to a blistering pacing. The music has a creative attachment to the frostbitten styles of black metal and they all seem unsettling to the grim nature of the vocals. Despite the fact that none of the elements on “Empire of Impurity” are new, the synth beautifully juxtaposes dark landscapes with fast lighting drums and atmospheric moments adding hooks to the three prolonged tracks.
The tremolos set ablaze on the following track “Profane Kingdom” and the kind of melancholy riffing shows the level of the quality. The way the acoustic guitars and synth are mixed, brings these elements to the fore, the keyboards bring in somber moments like the howling winds followed by the frostbitten ferocity. The trio of Ars Hmu has distinguished themselves from their other side projects and the debut falls between the atmospheric and symphonic form of black metal. “Empire of Impurity” is as grim and cold as the Norwegian and Swedish black metal counterparts, while the acoustic guitars offer many textures to the music. The rhythm guitars flawlessly channel the melodic aesthetics of Scandinavian black metal and while the vocals gives the debut album its dark and frosty aura, the songs remain memorable. Beyond that, there is an aspect that is deeply rooted in the aesthetic appeal, making the trio focus on the otherworldly atmosphere.
Despite the semi rawness of the music, the songs combine the strong complexity of classic albums of bands such as Emperor and Mayhem. The opening note of the towering tremolo-picked riffs on “Stalking Arrival Of Possession” incorporates the raw vehemence of these bands and then settles into the atmospheric passages. A beautiful alteration of the musical pacing suggests the level of the songwriting skills and astute vision. The song features some icy raw riffing and the mixture of the acoustic guitar section mid-way through the track accentuates the blistering tremolos. There is a symphonic echo of Emperor’s “In The Nightside Eclipse” when the synth glide amid the scorching guitars and the blistering drums. Ars Hmu achieves the regal majesty of the second wave of black metal on the debut album, melodic passages outburst with the soundscapes of the airy synth weaving grandiose ornamented music. The final track “Tristitia In Iniquitatem” showcases Swartadapuz‘s mastery of mood, atmosphere, and ambiance. With its fabulous keyboard arrangements dragging the outro to eleven minutes of lush synth. It seems like a blissful listening to finally reach the end of this majestic musical endeavor, the lucidity of the synth texture and the percussion effects are joined in a mystical venture to the realms of dungeon synth.
To conclude, Ars Hmu’s first full-length album ‘Empire of Impurity’ is a rare offering from these talented musicians who have delivered a fabulous array of elements and textures. The beauty of the music lies in the craftsmanship and song composition that allures the listener with the haunting vocals and the majestic melodies. A high recommendation for fans of Gardsghastr, Setherial, and Emperor.
Release Date: February 24th, 2022
Label: Amor Fati Productions
- Immoral Path
- Profane Kingdom
- Stalking Arrival of Possession
- Tristitia In Iniquitatem