Aegrus – In Manus Satanas

As we move to the end of 2019, we also recognize that time happens quickly. It has been two years since the release of Aegrus’ previous album, "Thy Numinous Darkness", in 2017.

With, "In Manus Satanas", Aegrus brings out some classic elements of black metal, that is the vocal styles and the emotive guitars in the tremolo mode. But this album is more than that, sonically. Obviously the technology of recording has changed somewhat – and this is clear from the beginning of the album – just the smoothness of the layers in the mix is different than we would have expected from the early 90s.

But we are still able to hear the different instruments, the guitars strums are heard, the base rhythms are clear, and the drums are their own layer in the mix. On the surface, this might sound too obvious to mention aloud. But one of the coolest things about black metal style is that technology, though crucial to the very existence of it, is also used so as not to overwhelm that in most cases people are playing instruments. Some bands mix their sounds such that the mechanized aspect is emphasized, and this has its place of course. But black metal has traditionally worked as a creation of human beings who are actually producing the music. I think that’s a good thing for metal.

"In Manus Satanas" has two tracks in the middle of the album that open that human emotion space very well, ‘At The Altar Of Twilight’ and ‘Ascending Shadows'. These two tracks produce a nine-minute total slowdown of the album’s overall pace by producing a sub-arc of style and slower strumming as a kind of composed piece amidst an album of composed pieces. I like it. The vocals are forceful as ‘all get-out,’ as some might say, but guitars, bass, and drums take on a specific groove that is noticeable and pleasant.

Then with, ‘Nemesis', the pace blasts back up with the vocals and the overall rhythm of the entire sound. ‘Tis a super texture element in the album (those who read my reviews know I like texture a lot).

This black metal album does riff off the older styles to some degree, as mentioned above, but there is also this stylistic variation that would not have had a place in the classic BM eria. Things have changed (as Bob Dylan would say). Some of that is a kind of new emotionalism, and rock elements in the distortion, and these elements certainly show up in this record.

One thing that I must say here is that even though there is SO much metal being made from all around the world – not everyone enjoys everything, and not everyone enjoys all the ideological points of view shared by the artists. For instance, Aegrus has identified as a satanic metal project. And of course, associated with metal is this notion that metal is all ‘satanic.’ Not true. What is also not true is that all listeners are into satanism. I am not sure how to separate these ideas – maybe I can’t. But I want to be transparent about this aspect of metal and its listeners. I am not a satanist at all. In fact, I critique the music as a person who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ the members of this band blaspheme. I just want to put that out there in order to make my own status clear as a reviewer of metal.

If you are interested, check it out – the CD is still on sale.


1. Hymn To The Firewinged One
2. Nightspirit Theosis
3. Gestalt Of Perdition
4. At The Altar Of Twilight
5. Ascending Shadows
6. Nemesis
7. The Black Wings Upon Me
8. In Manus Satanas