This album feels like an incomplete mess, with unfinished tracks and demo-quality production that get progressively worse. The big question mark on the record is the band’s affliction for instrumentals that go nowhere. Out of the nine songs on the album, four of them are instrumentals; out of those four, only the calm intro “Lone Wolves” has any substance. The rest of them feel like throwaways the band couldn’t find a place for or didn’t have enough time to write lyrics for.
Then there are the three “recorded live” tracks tacked onto the end. Some bands do this to pad out the length, and In Carbon Mysticism is less than 35 minutes long with these included. “Christ Reign” has the most potential with its lengthy excursion and raspy shrieks, but “Dusk Unveils” drags on and “Through The Mist” is both without vocals and excitement. The production is at its poorest, understandable since the songs were recorded live, but why not just wait on these until the next album when they can be properly recorded?
There are only three real songs, all of which evoke an early Immortal/Burzum feel. The tremolo riffs, mute blast beats, and snarling rasps have all been thrown around for decades now. Winterus does little to put their own stamp on it, though they do get points for trying. “Harmonious” is the only tune with any hint of atmosphere, with its clean opening and spoken word passages reinforcing the grim depression contained in the lyrics.
Winterus is raw black metal, which is not the complaint here. The problem with In Carbon Mysticism is that it’s raw black metal without a strong direction. Pointless instrumentals, unnecessary demo tracks, and varying production quality are a smattering of the issues at play. With little atmospheric traits to justify these flaws to any extent, In Carbon Mysticism is a poor debut that would had been chastised even during the apex of the black metal movement.
(released April 26, 2011 on Lifeforce Records)