When Bezaelith and Otrebor (Elizabeth Gladding and Roberto Martinelli to their mums) decided to branch off from post-black metal act Botanist to create Lotus Thief, the chances were they’d produce something similarly avant-garde.
And so they decided to write a concept record based on Lucretius’ poem De Rerum Natura, which spans themes of atomism, universal energy and free love. So how to capture such an ancient, strange work via a 21st-century musical act? Through a cocktail of moody ambient prog, space rock and progressive metal, it turns out, peppered with flurries of psychedelic doom. If you think that sounds a little confusing, it is. Indeed, the frustrating thing is that where Rervm could have been a lush triumph, the prevailing spaciness sometimes causes the whole thing to wane a little. Disorientating vocal layers and weighty doom rhythms may prove less effective for the not so psychedelically inclined. Yet at its peak, Rervm is darkly exotic, with colourful punctuation lent through black-metal hissing in Mortalis, plus sharpened, sumptuous vocals in Discordia. An alluring project that is very nearly magnificent.