Review
Tangorodrim
Justus Ex Fide Vivit

Southern Lord (2007) Kevin Fitzpatrick

Tangorodrim – Justus Ex Fide Vivit cover artwork
Tangorodrim – Justus Ex Fide Vivit — Southern Lord, 2007

So what are we to think of this "pure, unholy black metal from Israel"? Well for starters, taking into consideration their country of origin doesn't mean a whole lot. Whether you're from Israel, South Africa, New Zealand or Paraguay, if you're black metal, you'll probably still sound Norwegian. Originality, you see, isn't one of the tenets of the black. Everyone roughly plays in the same fashion. High-end guitar production (and by high-end, I mean usually heavy on the treble), cymbal crashing blastbeats and grunts, screams and/or moans. Rinse. Repeat.

By that standard, Tangorodrim measure up to others in the genre and as such, isn't bad. This just isn't to say that they're particularly good, either. For a band to stand out in the black arts takes dedication. Not necessarily to honing their skills as musicians, but to become blacker than black. More extreme. None more black. Tangorodrim (yes, it's a Tolkien reference, you geek) are only taking baby steps into the blackpool. And with this being their fourth full-length album since 1996, this puts them behind the times. Now a two-piece, the band doesn't seek to provide anything different from their predecessors and while not overly derivative, nonetheless provide an album devoid of any real quality to speak of.

Coming from the (un)holy land gives them one more disadvantage, however - the lyrics, scary though they may be if you're from Tel Aviv, lose something in the translation, punctuated by my favorite cliché in foreign metal music - the inappropriate exclamation point (as evidenced in the title track):

I am standing in naked forest worshiping the clean ones! / They smell nice, I have to take a shower / Were clean and bloody shower for my soul / I can't survive without it!

Let's pause and digest that, for a moment shall we? As we read further on, we find lyrics that make more sense, but still

I am ready to carry that cross but only if it's made of priest bones / Only if it weighted a ton of holly (sic) intestines / Red magnet draws me near

Did you just get a piss shiver? Me too.

Look, there's worse entries in the genre, and Justus Ex Fide Vivit will hardly taint the formidable Southern Lord legacy, but believe you me, there's a whole lot better on the roster than Tangorodrim. If you're a fan of the label you probably won't be disappointed with the album on the first couple of listens, but I somehow doubt you'll play it much more than that.

Tangorodrim – Justus Ex Fide Vivit cover artwork
Tangorodrim – Justus Ex Fide Vivit — Southern Lord, 2007

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