Ecclesia – De Ecclesiæ Universalis (2020)

ECCLESIA founds the Third Ecumenical Council with ‒ since their 2017’s bull Witchfinding Metal of Doom ‒ the Arnhwald’s conversion who has finally embraced the true faith of Doom and thus officially joined the Holy See alongside The Witchfinder General and Brother Ignis Sacer, the two founding members of the Curia. Beside them are appointed Julius as the new Legate for solos affairs, the official canonization of Father HexenHammer for his drumming dedication and the designation of Father Walkelinus as Chapel Master.

ECCLESIA only preaches through the Holy Trinity. Apart from the three tracks from the EP rewritten for the occasion, including real drums, only three new tracks join the evangelicals: Vatican III, Behold the Heretic Burning and Antichristus. Not only were the Old Testament titles a slaughter in their day, but their Vulgate even more so powerful. As for the new Psalms, these fit right into the lineage of the Pentateuch.

The Apostolic See retains its main Deuterocanonic influence from the Doom Metal’s golden era and its heavy and slow codes. There are also some faster indult towards Heavy, even Thrash, but all the while remaining faithful to the dogma. If you are more interested in big solos and more frenetic pace, then Antichristus and God’s Trial are for you. If you prefer a slower, more traditional Doom, then Montségur or Deus Vult will appeal to you more. But honestly, any of these titles could convert a pagan into Doom because the songwriting is so good.

Considering the riffs as Titanesque would be a heresy, an assumed blasphemy to refer to Gigantomachy. It is enough to look at the lead and rhythmic association on Antichristus to show repentance. This syncretism is divine and the keyboard ‒ usually reserved ‒ will be entitled to its moment of glory by supplanting the solo in a surprisingly effective way and, when we think it is over, the band brings all the available crusaders up again. And then comes the guttural, blasting, napalm-friendly final. It is also nice to get back to Arnhwald’s performances on this new opus, as he was already impressive on their first incipit, his seraphic interventions are faithful in his talent.

The presence of a keyboard might put some off, but ECCLESIA had the wit to modulate it while respecting the band’s liturgy with an organ approach ‒ while keeping it discreet ‒ enhancing an inquisitive vibe already present. The felling of preaching the holy word within the cathedral’s nave is successful… when it is not for crusade songs on the battlefield.

The only sin of the group remains the fade out. So much frustration in this lack of an outright proper outro that it would be the only thing I would excommunicate them for. And perhaps to have sacrificed some parts of the rhythm for the benefit of angelic voices on Ecclesia Sathani. Having to dig up the Templar treasure to find an ounce of flaw in ECCLESIA is a guarantee of undeniable quality. In addition, especially for me as not being a Doom aficionado, if a band is able to convert me in this way this is a token of unprecedented quality.

Unanimously approved by the Conclave of Metal through numerous edicts, the Church of Doom spreads its influence under the banner of a theological virtue. Answer the call of the De Ecclesiæ Universalis pardon decree, burn for Doom or be burned!

In the name of Metal and the Doom and the Holy Inquisition. Amen.

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