Earth and fire...
Genre: ritual/ceremonial doom/black metal
Opera IX is probably one of the more accessible black metal bands because of their specific melodic and, at times, epic and varied approach to the genre and their emphasis on clear and well-defined production. But, make no mistake, this is still bleak and oppressive, and creepy, too (some of which owes to the ceremonial intermezzos that pop up on the album).
Heaviness is really the keyword of this album. While there are plenty of more typical blastbeat-based sections throughout the album, heaviness is actually the primary elements, and virtually all tracks have long passages of heavy drumming and doomy riffage - I'd actually go so far as classifying this album as a blend of black metal and doom metal along the lines of Candlemass and the like (just check out tracks like 'Ecat', 'Nemus Tempora Maleficarum', and 'Historia Nocturna') with a touch of Both Thrower-style heavy death metal, and I think it works quite well.
Moreover, Opera IX make use of epic and symphonic sounding keyboard effects, which might not appeal to all black metal fans, but they this aspect of Opera IX's sound suits the heavy and doom-ladden passages very well.
Dark, heavy and rich in black metal bleakness, this release should appeal to fans of both doom metal and more melodic black metal.