Andrew Markuszewski (NACHTMYSTIUM, LORD MANTIS) was really onto something big with 2007 AVICHI release "The Divine Tragedy". Atmospheric, yet muscular, and progressively mind, the black metal he created captivated on levels both musical and lyrical without abandoning the fundamentals that make the style coarse and threatening. Four years later, the man has fully realized his vision on "The Devil's Fractal", one of the best black metal albums released thus far in 2011; its current status is destined to remain unchanged at year's end.
"The Devil's Fractal" takes a muscular framework and unbridled aggression, and then integrates an intelligent form of arrangement that is rife with menacing atmospherics and progressive leanings. The final product is felt in ways visceral and cerebral. Driving — though not simply blast-beaten — tempos are bolstered by drumming that threatens to knock the earth off its axis, while the black metal guitar work is traditional in one sense, yet kept from becoming a one-dimensional blur of minor-note harmonies. More importantly, it is written in a memorable and creative way. Often in the six to seven-minute range (closing cuts aside) the compositions split the difference between catchiness and menace. The smart transitioning and relative degree of diversity of "Sermon of the Mount" alone offers more compositional intrigue than the entirety of most black metal release of the prosaic variety. Markuszewski's mid-range, intelligible rasp enhance greatly the pure malice of "Under Satan's Sun", including certain stabbing riffs that come off as sonic manifestations of a knife attack on a cursed nemesis. Then again, "nemesis" is the most apt description of the views on Christianity revealed in the lyrics; no quarter for the pious, that's a certainty.
Pertaining to arrangements and lyrics then, everything on "The Devil's Fractal" has its place and not a note seems random, whether the percussive accents heard on "I am the Adversary" or the cavernous spoken croaks in "Tabernacle of Perdition". Completing the album with the nearly 20 minutes of dynamic arrangement across the two title tracks (parts I and II) works to drive those points home and speaks of the vast potential for greatness yet to be fulfilled on the next AVICHI release. Highly recommended.