Brothers and sisters, rejoice, for your prayers have been heard and they’re finally answered. The mighty ECCLESIA are bringing out their highly anticipated second album and we are ready to witness their holy rage once again – Amen!
Am I a devoted Ecclesiast already? Well, it’s true that I’ve been fixedly following the band since their very first release, “Witchfinding Metal of Doom” EP of 2017, waiting patiently for their purifying fire to spread all around the globe. The pyre has been lit with their debut, “De Ecclesiæ Universalis” (Aural Music, 2020) and now, after four long years, it’s time for their cathartic conflagration to swallow the whole sinful world; it’s time for “Ecclesia Militans” to declare the war against the unrepentant!
Yes, I am definitively going to keep up with the gimmicks; as long as ECCLESIA deliver some serious and inspiring music to support their theatrical imagery, the 12th century witch-hunting themes are just fine, especially when the band has made perfectly clear that they use this lyrical scenery simply to emphasize the blackest depths of man’s soul – a quite clever double-edged gist, indeed.
ECCLESIA started as an epic doom band – “Montségur” and “God’s Trial”, found both in their EP and debut, are two great examples of their initial style. Still, the tracklist of “De Ecclesiæ Universalis” as a whole, made it plain that no matter how influenced by doom metal they are, they don’t actually play it.
They confirm that with their sophomore album. “Ecclesia Militans” leaves no doubt about the band’s musical identity; ECCLESIA are PURE HEAVY METAL – emphasis on the word pure, since we’re talking about Holy Inquisitors, right? They do not resemble MONASTERIUM or EVANGELIST but they do bring in mind CANDLEMASS sometimes, sounding more like the latest SORCERER, GRAND MAGUS, GRAVEN SIN and BLACK SABBATH of Tony Martin’s period. They are surely a very notable group, combining power metal with lots of doomy elements, making their own dark blend. And yes, they STAND OUT! The use of church organ, the choral arrangements and the chanting in Latin, together with some EXCELLENT musicianship and BRILLIANT vocals, are enough to make the difference.
“Ecclesia Militans” is a PERFECT successor to “De Ecclesiæ Universalis”. It begins with “Vade Vetro”, a medieval prayer for exorcism, which concludes with the priest saying “Now we are ready to begin!”
God, they are!
“If She Floats” and “Et Cum Spiritu Tuo” that follow are massive anthems of heaviness, catchy and epic in the same time while “Antecclesia” that comes next, offers one of the album’s highlights with some solid doom structure, filled with beefy riffs, nice soloing and gloomy melody. Title track, “Ecclesia Militans”, is a fast, dynamic song, showcasing the robust rhythm section of the band; “The Exorcism” and “Ereptor Verae Fidei” are two great, complex tracks, where vocals are insanely good and “Redden the Iron” is a true hailstorm, a powerful song that makes us enjoy even more the contrast of slowing down that comes with “Harvester of Sinful Souls” – to be honest, I wasn’t satisfied by this particular song until it reached half of its length, where the guitar solo and the maniac galloping after it, transform it from a seemingly flat filler to an EPIC hymn! The album closes with “Quis ut Deus”, a fitting serene instrumental.
Overall, “Ecclesia Militans” is an excellent album and if you enjoyed “De Ecclesiæ Universalis”, you’ll certainly love this one too.
I have to say, ECCLESIA really made it with their second work: they are recognizable and distinct as a band and they returned to proselytize all disbelievers – confess your sins and save yourselves joining the Holy Army!
“Ecclesia Militans” will be released on March 8th by Aural Music on all formats – CD, LP and digital.
Check the discussion about the album in our forum pages.
You can pre order both CD and LP here.