Inner Sanctvm – Christi Testamenta

Uruguay’s Inner Sanctvm have a peculiar history, to say the least: first because of their geographic origin, considering that Republica Oriental is certainly not one of the most prolific South American countries in the metal field, then the rather unusual fact that Christi Testamenta, their second full length, comes “only” eighteen years after their debut entitled Frozen Souls. Despite the record’s excellent responses and the consequent acquisition of good popularity on their own continent, Inner Sanctvm did not survive the internal tensions that led founder Heber W.Hammer to leave the band, effectively decreeing what seemed to be its end. Heber himself, after another unsuccessful attempt to bring his creature back to life, seems to have found the squaring of the circle by going fishing for other South American musicians scattered all over the world, starting with original drummer Alvaro Garcia, who now lives in Perugia, Italy, and passing through Chileans Francisco Martin, bassist in the Swedish band The Gardnerz, and Anton Reisegger, here struggling behind the microphone but active as guitarist in the metal supergroup Lock Up. Heber’s tenacity has undoubtedly been rewarded , judging by the resulting result: in fact, even if paradoxically the sound of ours seems to have remained faithful to the stylistic dictates of that distant 1994, the genuineness and the intensity unleashed by the quartet averts the danger of derubricating Christi Testamenta as a trivial recycling of ideas. This record proves to be a perfect example of how one can competently pay homage to one’s musical roots, which can be found quite prominently in early Celtic Frost and Venom themselves; Anton’s rough, ungainly, yet damnably effective voice declaims religious lyrics over a sound carpet that mixes death, thrash and doom with commendable measure, giving us three quarters of an hour of enthralling music. A series of excellent songs, which will certainly not stand out for their originality, but still able to keep the listener nailed down thanks to a linear songwriting and with a Heber capable of continuously piling on really engaging riffs; the icing on the cake are the two covers, one decidedly more canonical like Return To The Eve (Celtic Frost), the other instead more unusual, although closely related to the themes dealt with in the album, namely Heaven On Their Minds taken from Jesus Christ Superstar. Here Judas does not possess the “black” and elegant voice of the late Carl Anderson but, through Anton’s snarl, expresses if possible even better the anger and resentment of the character in the stage performance; as far as I am concerned this is what should be meant by a cover: not a faithful and well-executed but rather sterile repetition, as much as making the soul of the original song one’s own by adapting it to one’s own style. Overall, this is a record that, besides not disappointing those who love this kind of sound, proves to be far superior to certain pretentious but relatively good works of even more dubious genuineness released lately.

2012 – I, Voidhanger Records