"Emperor" gone progressive?
In Lingua Mortua boasts a sound not too dissimilar from Emperor (Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk era) and even Dimmu Borgir (Enthrone Darkness Triumphant era), but not as bombastic and with all those symphonic elements, and somewhat more ferocious. However, they do not settle for mere repetitive, unoriginal black metal, as I hear well structured composition and a progression within the tracks, developing the musical "story-line", coming up with more ideas as they go, making for an entertaining as well as an interesting listen. This could be described as a progressive form of black metal - maintaining its ferociousness, its raw power, the guitar riffs and vocal style, while adding the nuances of complexities to the song structure, varied instrumentation (sax, flute, keyboards of various kinds, violin, sound samples to complement the basic metal instrumentation) and an overall creativeness that is not always found in black metal bands (whether it be the old school raw BM or the symphonic black metal). However, I do feel they could have made more use of the "ammunition" that was at their disposal: more use of the sax, violin and flute among others. In their website it says that the music is inspired by "everything from Norwegian black metal of the 90's to prog rock of the 70's, to jazz of the 50's, to folk, country, classical music, electronica/trip-hop to film music (film noir and horror in particular) and so on."; I personally did not hear all of those in there (and I do like the description, but I feel that the album does not deliver that exactly) but I will say that the album is varied; broad in its scope and exciting.
Lars Fredrik Frøislie (keyboards, vocals, bass and samples; producer and engineer; music written by him and lyrics where not taken from Dante, Homer and Hammill) is varied in his musical output: He is also involved with prog rock band White Willow (which has now been put on hold) and black/folk metal band Asmegin (who's future is also unknown). This project he leads found him on the extreme metal side again (he composed this back in 1999-2000), combining the creativeness and sophistication of a progressive band (there's even a mellotron here!), and the ferocity, intensity and aggression of the extreme metal camp (though the latter is the dominant characteristic here, the main order of the day).
The album is quite dense, rich in sound, and given this and the length of the tracks, at the end of the album I feel as if I finished a long tiring journey, but an enjoyable one. If you fancy listening to a black metal release, but not of the bland unimaginative kind; with many intricacies, complexities, interesting shifts and rich sound, then this album should quench you thirst.