To Take up the Cross is a debut, of sorts. For German one-man outfit Latitude Egress, it marks a significant change. Formerly known as Licht Erlischt, the band released two albums of depressive black metal, moving away from the conventions of the subgenre over the course of 2009’s The Narrow Path and 2012’s …And Below, the Retrograde Disciples until, with To Take up the Cross, the shift required a name change. So, To Take up the Cross arrives as the first Latitude Egress offering, released on Oct. 27 via Art of Propaganda, comprising seven stylistically varied songs named in thematic keeping with the album’s title that hold firm to a rich, emotionally resonant drama while consistently defying expectation.
The roots are in black metal. Some of the underlying bed of guitar distortion from multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Niklas “Nerrath” Thiele (Horn, ex-Chemosh) gives that away, but Latitude Egress is stubborn in its refusal to be easily pigeonholed. In its pacing and melancholia, it’s no less indebted to classic European doom, and shades of death/doom appear alongside Thiele‘s synth theatricality and clean, commanding, at times Nick Cave-esque singing style. Earlier cuts like “To Take up the Cross When through it You Can Win a Kingdom” and “To Cast a Spot upon the Death of Your Death” might bring to mind some of Primordial‘s post-blackened impulses, but the personality and mission behind Latitude Egress is different, and songs move fluidly between raging and contemplative quieter passages, never quite departing a full-band feel but giving a sense of personal expression from Thiele all the same.
Slotted as the penultimate inclusion, sixth of the seven, “To Restore the Pride to Petravore” builds over its first couple minutes subtly behind Thiele‘s vocals and guitar until at last boiling over to a push of shouts and distortion that, topped with a mournful lead guitar, serve as a fitting emblem of To Take up the Cross‘ doomed side, a memorable airiness of tone seeming sentimental for former glories until the piece seems to collapses, resigned, into itself and ends, giving way to closer “To March along the Desolate Peripheries of Mind,” which enacts the final stretch of bleakness in Latitude Egress‘ heavy-hearted salvo.
As much a work of emotional as sonic weight, you’ll final “To Restore the Pride to Petravore” on the player below. Please enjoy:
Latitude Egress‘ To Take up the Cross is due out Oct. 27 on Art of Propaganda. More info at the links.