PENITENCIA/VAPULAH,      “Das Sombras Outrora Luz”

By Octopi Mills

Ah, Signal Rex and Portugal. As always, the label is quite minimal in explaining things too much outright and this could be a good thing sometimes, now, couldn't it? The PENITENCIA part of this split album opens in a manner that involves black metal done in a sort of orchestral attempt that reaches upon the epic side of the spectrum. Vocals grandfather their way in, making for a black metal experience of the usual garden variety sort of species. The songs have the symphonic effect that pays a sort of homage to these old things that WINDIR once did with great taste for the metal genre. This of course is a bit different than that but done in it's own way, and of good musicianship. There is some fiddling around with keys here and there if that is what they even are…

The VAPULAH section of the spilt comes next. The music here seems like it could have been made in the same studio as the former  and it seems to be a symphonic inspired affair too. "Illuminato Divinia" opens it. The vocals aren't decayed enough to sound like some dead thing walking with effects I might imagine coming from the damned things like in a Fulci film- you know, the sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, plastic-wrapper effect that happens on the wrapper with the cheese when it wasn't thrown away and left out to rot? Something like that, but missing the mark…

The two bands seem close enough on the split but there are some differences to be found between the two. There seems to be a fellow who goes by the handle of Pestelins involved on both band parts. The second song adds a nice classical guitar which is narrated by spoken word; inlayed by whispering and doubled vocals at least, setting the atmosphere for the affair of storytelling. Something that sounds like female vocals wail around like old ghostly coyotes. The third sort of concerto themed piece opens with a cinematic moment before going back into the floating, flying cloak of aerial music found moving in the first of this album. Something gives me a Spanish sort of Western feel that has the feel of Italy, somehow, but I know it is my foolish American upbringing that does this, and I admit I cannot understand the language and did not bother to translate the lyrics. This adds an air of mystery to the listen; something akin to floating in a boat at nighttime without a light on a moonless night. 

So thus, I listen, benighted. The guitars and strings carry a classical baroque feel that is not always done in the music and it is done in a way that is interesting. This made for a smooth sort of listen, and it evoked a nocturnal feeling. The guitars sound quite fit for an orchestral feel, this must be noted...

Signal Rex has a bandcamp page and I feel this is something we all miss out on in supporting music these days. It seems there are many great obscure artists to be found there but other, more commercial sites seem to overshadow these sort of lost artists who never find any sort of recognition. They also state that freedom of speech is of importance. Thank you all for your time and good night.