When it comes to the conversation surrounding the “greatest extreme/tech death metal acts of the last 20 years,” Persefone is easily on that list. From their phenomenal debut LP (2004’s Truth Inside the Shades) to 2022’s Metanoia, the Andorran sextet always produce work that ranks alongside the best of what the genre currently offers. Given that legacy (alongside the fact that vocalist Marc Martins Pia left last year and was replaced by Daniel Rodríguez Flys), it’s no wonder why Lingua Ignota: Part I arrives with high hopes and a lot to prove.
Luckily, Persefone’s second EP completely showcases they’re capability to carry on and exceed expectations.
Clocking in at under 30 minutes, it succeeds at fulfilling the group’s goal of crafting an “organic and band-oriented” sequence in which “every instrument, word, note, and hit had its place – avoiding meaningless passages or transitions.” Whereas prior collections were full of instrumental segues, build-ups, and the like, this one is a tighter and more relentlessly abrasive journey. Coupled with the inherent newness Flys brings to the table, that economical approach allows Lingua Ignota: Part I to feel gratifyingly fresh yet familiar from start to finish.
Even though opener “Sounds and Vessels” begins like the kind of ethereally atmospheric prelude you’d expect from Persefone, it quickly demonstrates their shift in creative methodology. Following some eerie ambiance, quiet piano notes and electronic beats cascade around Flys’ ominous multilayered chant (“I keep dreaming of the one word / That can’t be named”). It’s eerie yet serene, and before long, the arrangement gets significantly intense while Flys unleashes his full guttural might. Such immediate hellishness is as unexpected as it is wholly hypnotic.
Naturally, it seamlessly moves into “One Word” (which doubles down on that diabolic path and even reprises the chant). It’s honestly one of the most ruthlessly aggressive songs Persefone has done in a long time—if not ever—with them sprinkling only bits of their characteristic “proggy” theatricality and dynamics throughout the overwhelmingly in-your-face belligerence. As for Flys, he’s not definitively better or worse than his predecessor; rather, he’s different but equally fitting, immediately earning his spot as the group’s latest frontman.
Although the same can be said for the remaining three tracks, each one does enough to distinguish itself, too.
Specifically, “The Equable” is peppered with church bells and dense sing-along choruses, as well as a greater focus on breathing room between the brutality. In contrast, the title track offsets the prevailing chaos with hauntingly rustic harmonies and acoustic guitar strums, just as sorrowful closer “Abyssal Communication” wraps things up with a self-professed emphasis on “cinematic” production, ritualistic rhythms, and mournful singing. In a way, it’s like a gorgeous hybrid of Persefone, TesseracT, Leprous and Ihsahn that pierces your soul and never leaves.
Lingua Ignota: Part I is an awe-inspiring testament to Persefone’s stylistic hegemony and personal/professional resilience. After all, they could’ve easily just recaptured the exact chemistry that made Metanoia so incredible (or let the departure of Pia signify their demise). Instead, they rebounded expertly with a commendable new singer and direction, resulting in a collection whose conciseness makes it immensely replayable and whose artistry undoubtedly matches what preceded it.
As such, Lingua Ignota: Part I is both a great place to start with Persefone and a rewarding reminder of why they’ve spent two decades dominating the tech/extreme death metal scene.
Persefone’s Lingua Ignota: Part I drops Friday, February 2 via Napalm Records. Preorder your copy today.
The post Review: Persefone Return with Diabolical Directness on <em>Lingua Ignota: Part I</em> appeared first on MetalSucks.