Auriferous Flame – Ardor for Black Mastery Review

Band: Auriferous Flame
Album: Ardor for Black Mastery
Label: True Cult Records
Genre: Black metal
Country: Greece
Release Date: October 6th, 2023
For Fans Of: Spectral Lore, Mystras, Immortal

It seems like 2023 is the year of stylistic shifts. Last month alone we saw Tomb Mold rise from the crypt with a progressive opus akin to Cynic and late-era Death, as well as Moonlight Sorcery transcending the rawer, synth-heavy black metal sound to become a black metal Wintersun. In a similar vein, Auriferous Flame, one of the projects of Greek black metal musician Ayloss (Spectral Lore, Mystras), took a complete 180. I reviewed Auriferous Flame’s last record in 2022, an enjoyable yet somewhat unremarkable blanket of atmospheric black metal. This year, Ayloss returns with a new album for Auriferous Flame, dropping the atmospherics entirely in favor of a furious black-thrash approach that cuts to the core of the black metal genre as a whole.

This change in direction got me thinking about what Ayloss’ intentions are for this project. I may have insinuated in my review of Auriferous Flame’s 2022 album The Great Mist Within that this project seemed to be an outlet for alternative stylistic endeavors, particularly of the atmospheric variety, but this album undermines that. The promo material asserts that “Auriferous Flame is absolutely not a side-project created for the sake of temporary experimentation, but a new formation with the same dedication and intended continuity as in Ayloss’ most well-known project.” Regardless of what direction Ayloss wants to take this project, I’m on-board, because Ardor for Black Mastery kicks ass.

Easily the most primitive of Ayloss’ recent work, this album gets to the heart of black metal with a biting intensity, through up-tempo blasts and thrashy riffs with tremolo motifs and wailing leads. The front side of this record is all aggression, with a driving opener that kicks into blistering speeds towards the 7 minute mark. Subsequent tracks keep up the speed, with the use of motif riffs to create a swirling, overwhelming feeling. A spooky interlude, and an extended bass solo on Ophidian Hallways, and some choir vocals interspersed add extra texture to an already well-produced and intentional album. The record doesn’t feel long, but it’s a solid 49 minutes, which is a testament to its effectiveness. Overall, this might be one of my favorite Ayloss records, and although I was perhaps a little harsh on The Great Mist Within, this follow-up exceeds expectation. Check this out.

Rating: 7/10


  1. Wielder of Secrets
  2. Thaumaturgical Irresolutions
  3. Behind the Gentle Breeze
  4. Ardor for Black Mastery
  5. Beyond Light, Beyond Reason
  6. Ophidian Hallways
  7. Recommencing the Great Work

Total Playing Time: 49:17

Click here to visit Auriferous Flame’s Bandcamp.