Band: Revenant Marquis
Album: Below the Landsker Line
Label: Inferna Profundus Records
Genre: Raw Black Metal
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: March 21, 2021
For Fans Of: Lamp of Murmuur, Kommodus, Black Cilice
Over the past few years there I have been very few black metal bands that have been as divisive as Revenant Marquis. On one hand the project has been heralded as one of the most promising things in black metal, while simultaneously generating discussion of being over-hyped, under-produced, unlistenable nonsense. While I have been a fan of everything Revenant Marquis has released, it would be a lie if I said that I didn’t understand why so many people have been unable to appreciate what this project does.
Bursting on to the scene in 2018 the one-man raw black metal project, masterminded by a man known only as S, has already released four full length albums, an EP, and a split with the underground favorite, Lamp of Murmuur. To say that Revenant Marquis music boasts a raw production style would be a massive understatement. The sound the project has become known for is cacophonous and claustrophobic, with a wall of noise over the top that creates a washed out sound that almost feels designed to alienate listeners. This production choice seems to be the problem that many people have with the project and this fifth full-length, entitled Below the Lansdker Line, is no different.
Like I said, I get why people don’t like Revenant Marquis, however, I think that what the band is doing is absolutely genius and I feel that Below the Lansdker Line, might be their best output to date. The album opens with the ten-and-a-half-minute opus Haverfordwest, and while the sound is similar to previous works, the song feels more focused and complete than anything that R.M. has done in the past. This focused trend is one that I felt carried throughout the duration of the album as well. The second track, Children of the Grand Abyss, is the standout track for me. It embodies the same sonic qualities as the rest of the album, but the guitar work is haunting and creates a sense of unease that I wasn’t expecting. Track three is an interlude entitled Beibel that felt sort of pointless but it was only a minute long, so I won’t fault it. The fourth track, Geist Unbaptized, is more of the same, still really good but not especially noteworthy and at nine minutes its. The fifth track, Under the Hand of the Master, is another standout. It’s the shortest and most aggressive song on the album and took me completely by surprise as it was so different from the other songs. The final track, Dianic, serves as an outro. It is an instrumental that borders on melodic and closes the album in really fulfilling way for me.
I have discussed production a few times, as it is usually the dividing line of whether someone will like this band or not. The washed out quality of the music makes it difficult to fully understand everything that is going on upon initial listens. As is the case with most R.M. albums, Below the Lansdker Line, did not really work for me upon my first couple times through the album. I am a fan of the band so I had a feeling that it would connect for me eventually and when it finally clicked I was blown away. Beneath the wall of sound is some of the most intricate guitar work that I have heard in black metal in a long time. This was something that I noticed on the bands previous release, Youth in Ribbons, but I think that it is even more prevalent on this album. The guitar and keys are so unorthodox that they shouldn’t work but for some reason they do, making the album truly stand apart from its contemporaries.
Below the Lansdker Line was a challenging listen, but ultimately, was one that was very rewarding. Revenant Marquis continues on the flawless path that it has been on since its inception and have created an album that I think I will be listening to for years to come. The beauty of this project is that it is highly unique and demands the attention of the listener. I loved this album and can’t wait to see what S does in the future.
Rating: 9.5 / 10
- Children of the Grand Abyss
- Geist Unbaptised
- Under the Hand of the Master