Taken from "Sea of Tranquillity" :
Black Metal from Argentina this time around, on the brand new release from Grima Morstua. Illustratio Per Horribilem Obscuritatem is as raw as you get, as the band take their Spanish roots and apply a healthy dose of Norwegian black metal influences ala Darkthrone & Mayhem. Much of what you'll hear on this CD is not an easy listen, but it's certainly well played and sticks to many of the traditional black metal elements, including evil, tortured vocal shrieks, pummeling blast beats, and some very inventive, textured guitar riffs. The vocals might be a tad overpowering for the non-black metal enthusiast, as they are truly over the top and dominate the mix, at times pushing the highly inventive and kick ass music accompanying it to the background. Still, there's no denying that tunes like "For My Vengeance to Rest" and "Venenum Sathani", despite the exaggerated ferocity of the vocals, contains some excellent musical handywork, especially the guitar playing, which makes Illustratio Per Horribilem Obscuritatem worth seeking out for fans of underground black metal.
Taken from "Metal Crypt" :
This is the first time I'm getting promos from Drakkar Productions and Grima Morstua is an unknown band to me. I've got little information about them besides the fact that they are from Argentina, a rather warm ground to breed such cold and grim music.
Illustratio Der Horribilem contains seven tracks of Black Metal, some of them with lyrics in Spanish. A bit of keyboards can be heard once and a while in the intro of the first track, Refleja Su Maldicion, completed by Gregorian chants. The same chants are back toward the end of the album, this time sounding more wicked. The bulk of this work is made of melodic and Satanic Black Metal with a nicely varied pace. The sound is a bit raw but pretty good in general. There's a noticeable lack of punch in the drums. Wicked vocals are not only in the last few moments but throughout the album in the rasp/scream and whispers of this sickly good Black Metal vocalist. I really enjoyed the melodic aspect of the lead guitar, often offering harmonious work, especially in the tremolo picking and back guitar playing. Even more interesting is a certain progressive edge in their sound.
Amongst the good ones here are: Espectros de la Crucifixion, Asesina tu Luz (some keys, dark ambiance and clean vocals included) and the closing number simply called Serpent.
Taken from "Heathen Harvest" :
Its when a band like this comes around that I love going around and reading the reviews of other journalists and seeing just how many idiots are trying to write intellectual material these days. I'm not going to single anyone out, but lately it seems ridiculous to me how many journalists for underground webzines seem to be popping up who can barely type coherently let alone give an honest well-thought out opinion on an album. It's strange really, that the bad reviews I find are the same non-thought babble that those very journalists accuse the band of being slaves to, and the good reviews feature the words "kicks ass" a little too often. I could understand for a thrash black attack, but certainly not this. Grima Morstua is, after three consecutive listens, now one of my favorite artists in this particular subsound of black metal for two reasons in particular.
Reasons number one has everything to do with location / geography. Grima Morstua are located in Argentina. Stop and think for a second how many albums you've bought (not downloaded) from a band that was based in Argentina. Done? That's right, probably under 3 if that. That's because most South American countries (with the exception of Brazil) are immensely hard to break out of, and even in Brazil, it is plagued by newcomers who have absolutely no clue as to what the hell they're talking about. While "national socialism" can obviously mean pride for any group of people and hatred for the rest (i.e. it does not just belong to nazis despite your uneducated biased opinions), its honestly hard to take a Brazilian band whom embraces this theology seriously. And it happens more often than I'd like to admit. The fact that this band was good enough to catch Drakkar's attention from Argentina indeed gives them a great deal of respect from my end up the black metal spectrum.
The second reason is the incredible vocal skills possessed by Serpienenev. I don't believe that I've ever heard such an array of black metal styles showcased throughout an album as I have found here. It seems like every 5 seconds there's a new voice being focused on, almost like every demon from the legions of hell is having his say in a cosmic arguement between the legions and satan himself. While its true the guitar work and the drums are rather monotonous and the same as 90% of other releases in this genre, these vocals really make the music more unique than one would expect. So, it is in my humble opinion that this is one of the more worthy releases worth purchase, especially from South America. Support Drakkar, and support unique black metal.
Taken from "Diabolical Conquest" :
Another notch in the orthodox black metal post, Grima Morstua wander the territory of Malign, Ondskapt, early Deathspell Omega, Funeral Mist, etc.; that kind of Satanic zealotry. Unlike the latter couple among these bands, however, this horde does not attempt to pad ritualistic ambience around their music as a vehicle for their sonic agenda (aside from about thirty tepid seconds of Gregorian chanting, an aspect of the album worthy of omission), but instead use and their predominantly mid-paced tangle of churning blackness and unique vocalist's vulgar vocalizations to evoke that feeling of obscure dogma dominating France and Sweden. When Serpienenev breaks out of his warbling croak and sings -- you know, with melody and his actual voice, as rare as that sort of thing is in albums where the guitars sound like insect wings -- in his native tongue over harmonic chunks of palm-muting, you'll know that despite the pretension orthodox black metal tends to entail, this is pure substance.
Submerged in waves of seasick tremolo abuse, the skinpounding's not unlike that of early Immortal in that it merely serves as a noisy backdrop rather than actual rhythmic support. The drums and bass are even more soft, distant, and ultimately irrelevant than those of, say, Pure Holocaust, allowing perpetually solitary riffcrafting to express the band's ideas. I suppose some of the songs tend to drag approaching their resolution, but part of the romantic appeal of black metal is that there is no discernible threshold on which to base such a rigid judgement; if the riff's good, it can drone on blissfully for ten minutes at a time without getting old.
I must again stress how versatile the vocalist is, with a voice ranging from a wet shrill to theatrical pseudo-operatics, sometimes both in the same nauseating exhalation. Listen three minutes into the song "For My Vengeance to Rest"; is that even human? Occasionally my interest begins to wander from the music, and all it takes is a radical shift in Serpienenev's vocal patterns to regain my attention. He's probably the highlight of Illustratio per Horribilem Obscuritatem, even if it is impossible to pronounce his name without stuttering. Go ahead, try it. Serpienene-ne-ne-nev, shit.
Unfortunately, Grima Morstua are probably destined to catch a lot of shit for being "generic." Are they? Well, I guess, but no more so than the latest Gallhammer, Drudkh or Antaeus releases, to name a few hordes out of... a larger horde, and no one seems to be pissed off that they're simply building upon established musical constructs (albeit very well) with their own superficial quirks.
There is a seamless cohesion between the artistic vision Grima Morstua wish to express and their standard vocabulary of heterophonic trem-picking & blastbeats (unlike the music of most callow nowadays black metal bands, in which the two always seem to married in awkward conflict under the shallow pretense of rawness). Ultimately, Illustratio per Horribilem Obscuritatem is some extremely solid religious, Scandinavian-styled black metal from a country in which I'd never expect such a thing to emerge. Give it the attention it deserves if that's your cup of tea.
Taken from "Metal review" :
It’s not often said but black metal is an incredibly diverse genre. Depending on the band or era, this style can make for a frightening, harrowing listening experience, or one that is symphonic, haunting and majestic. Illustratio Per Horribilem Obscuritatem does none of these things unfortunately, and leaves me rather under-whelmed. As far as what part of the black metal spectrum Grima Morstua occupy, it’s the raw, ‘grim’ end we’re talking about here. All major aspects of the music contained on this disc are average at best, and occasionally fall below that. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as there are a few redeeming moments on Illustratio Per Horribilem Obscuritatem, and hopefully Grima Morstua will run with these and leave the clichéd, generic elements of their sound behind.
Musically, the sound of Grima Morstua is presumably meant to come across as raw and brutal but the riffs for a start are weak and uninspiring. The drumming performance fares little better, with the predictable blast-and-rock patterns recalling about a hundred other bands and a few moments of sloppy time-keeping as well. The vocals are a little stronger but are too dominant, to the point where the songs seem to be constructed around the unrelenting high-pitched warbling, and the music an afterthought. As far as production goes, this isn’t the worst I’ve heard by a long shot, but very ordinary nonetheless. It’s raw and minimal, which is probably what the band aimed for.
As for the songs themselves, it’s a mixed bag and unfortunately the few effective moments are by and large overshadowed by the mediocrity of most of the material on Illustratio Per Horribilem Obscuritatem. It’s not all bad though: “For My Vengeance To Rest” features some interesting, discordant riffing which sustains the song for most of its six minutes; “Venenum Sathani” features increased melody in the guitars, combined with a more urgent delivery which works well; and the last few minutes of album closer “Serpent Messiah” feature distorted male chanting and creepy fx which are genuinely unsettling.
If Grima Morstua really wanted to, they could easily take their music in a far more interesting direction than that displayed on Illustratio Per Horribilem Obscuritatem. At the moment the band seems way too comfortable to slot into the neat little pigeonhole of ‘grim’ black metal that far superior bands dug out for them years ago. Just about everything on this release begs to be refined and beefed up, in particular the ferocity and emotional intensity of the music. In the meantime I’d be sticking with those old Mayhem and Darkthrone albums when needing a fix of the real thing.