CAESTUS “The Undoer’s Key”

By Dr. Abner Mality

CAESTUS is a paraphrase of “cestus”, which was a heavy metal glove that gladiators used to club their prey. A pretty good name for these Finnish black metal terrorists, as they definitely focus more on the vicious and dark side of the genre. Although not totally devoid of atmosphere, don’t look for extended synth interludes, folksy singalongs or operatic passages on “The Undoer’s Key”. This is black metal in the tradition of MARDUK, GORGOROTH and even more death metallish fare such as NECROPHOBIC.

The glove smites your skull with feral fury on “Reclamation”, where it’s apparent CAESTUS prefer a strong, clear production that captures the power of bass and drums. It’s ripping, standard black metal with speed, but “Ultimate Weapon” tosses more time changes and dissonance at the listener...just a warrm-up for the excellent title track, full of strong riffs and changes.

From there, the aggression is constant but is expressed in different ways. “Burning Hope” definitely has more of a cold, trebly sound with a lot of dissonant, harsh guitar while “Condescenders” has more of a buzzing drone. “Dawn of Reckoning” hops between crunchy, midpaced death metal, a catchier folk-style riff and even the album’s sole bit of acoustic interplay. Last track “Omnipotent Defect” alternates between fast and slow all the way through.

“The Undoer’s Key’ is not revolutionary enough to really undo anything, but it’s punchy and solid enough to give you a stiff wallop upside your head.