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Decay Your Soul In the Nekromantik Black Metal of CONCILIUM ‘Sky Bvrial’ Full Album Premiere

Lots of extreme metal bands make a point of creating “an experience” via a trisect of sound, visuals, and concept, but few accomplish the feat at such an evocative level as Portuguese black metal necromancers Concilium has done with their immense third album Sky Bvrial releasing tomorrow May 5, 2023, via Sentient Ruin and proudly premiered in full here today.

Sky Bvrial is a concept album about an ancient ritual burial practice (“བྱ་གཏོར”་, meaning “bird-scattered”, which we’ve already covered on these pages) that has been taking place for centuries according to Tibetan Buddhism, in the geographical area of the Himalayas. Due to the area’s high altitude rocky and dry geography, and the lack of timber for cremation or a suitable ground for traditional burial, a tradition has emerged of bringing the bodies of the deceased to sacred “eating grounds” to be taken care of scavenging animals, namely the Himalayan vultures. To facilitate the vulture’s task, the bodies are prepared for consumption prior to the feeding by having the corpse’s bones crushed and the body hacked into smaller pieces with machetes by dedicated ritual staff called ogyapas (“body-breakers”). The bodies are then left at the sacred burial grounds of the monasteries where they are swarmed by feasting vultures and dispatched according to the bird’s notorious feeding habits while the Buddhist monks who inhabit the monasteries conduct the funerary ritual with chants, prayers, and other typical liturgies according to the tradition of the burial. This type of burial is highly praised and profoundly admired and respected among in local culture, and its “return to the sky” symbolism of transcendence and of passage to the afterlife via this sacred ritual has a deep and ancient meaning in Himalayan Buddhist tradition.

It goes without saying that the practice is shrouded in numerous elements that are highly evocative: the brutality and gory nature of the practice is evident, as much as its undeniable aura of mystique and its highly sacred meaning according to the local belief system, and on Sky Bvrial Concilium have beautifully captured this duality of necromantic violence juxtaposed to a mysticism and contemplative reverence for death that transpires beautifully from the brutal and decaying aura of the album.

Sky Bvrial takes the most rotten and chaotic strains of black metal (Beherit, Demoncy, Archgoat, Profanatica, Teitanblood), funneling them into an aphotic obfuscation of death-riddled atmospheres and chaotic and hallucinatory dirges, a lethal mix of violence, filth, beauty, solemnity and grandiose atmospheres that has created a masterful crossroad between war metal, raw black metal, and vorticose, trance-inducing atmospheric black metal.

Sky Bvrial, releases tomorrow May 5, 2023, on CD, LP, tape, and digital formats via Sentient Ruin, grab it HERE or HERE.

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