By now astute practitioners of the black arts should be well aware of the existence of Aethyrick. Formed by Gall and Exile on the winter solstice 2016 Aethyrick’s medium is black metal and their locale Finland but over the course of two visionary albums for The Sinister Flame 2018’s Praxis and 2020’s Gnosis the duo have defiantly etched a unique headspace all their own. Bountifully brimming with magick and mysticism simultaneously aeons-old and strikingly modern the band’s first two albums served as cornerstones for how to honorably uphold traditional all-caps BLACK METAL and feed it with a feverish creativity. Put another way Aethyrick didn’t abandon language altogether rather they spoke their own enrapturing dialect. And feverish is an apt description of Aethyrick’s ways and means for soon arrives their third full-length spell again through the auspices of The Sinister Flame: Apotheosis. As perfectly titled at this point in their majestic chronology as any Apotheosis culminates Aethyrick’s glorious march into the beyond – both punctuation final and austere and also as the opening of a new chapter. It sees the duo going from strength to strength making no great changes to their enviously developed aesthetic but suffusing it with ever-subtle expansions of atmosphere and songwriting nuance. Indeed where the preceding Gnosis was a subtle refinement Apotheosis makes that subtlety even more miniscule…and yet the sum effect feels grander vaster even liberating. Here on Apotheosis never soft but neither categorically negative their riffing and leads burst and sparkle with a passion and power that’s truly blanching and the ever-so-tasteful layer of synths gilding it give the record an especially ethereal aspect: open thy heart and one will feel the gust of ALL the spirit-unshackling majesty of boundless illumination. Indeed Apotheosis fully brims with the band’s occult character now many decades walking the Left-Hand Path and immersion on the listener’s part is all but assured. And bringing it full circle (or Ouroboros if you will) is the absolutely gorgeous cover art courtesy of the masterful Timo Ketola one of the final pieces he completed a week before his untimely death. To call each of Aethyrick’s albums a classic would not be an understatement. Black metal as an artform is enriched by their existence and Apotheosis completes this trinity with no small amount of stargazing grandeur.