Reverence is among the better industrial black metal artists putting out records these years, and they also number among the upper crust of the French scene, every bit as experimental as a Peste Noire or Blut Aus Nord; they simply do it with more machines. Inactive Theocracy is their 3rd full length offering and quite excellent. It's a little less savage than their previous work, but for this I am actually thankful, as it captures a powerful emotional range.
The 'industrial' elements here are presented through samples of various noises, and a sheen of synthesized atmosphere that truly complements the trio's grim core. The beautiful, dark ambiant "Origin" leads into "Faith Design", a lurching barrage of multi-textural chords over interesting drumming, rolling off the double bass into the screaming melodies and jangling discordant guitar rhythms. Vocals shift between I. Luciferia's harsh snarling to some soaring, accented cleans. "Breath" commences through more beautiful ambiance before transforming into another rolling beast, though it breaks for some spastic blasting, thrashing rhythms with an interesting, collapsing guitarpeggio. "When the Light Blossoms" is like the sound of decaying clockwork through black metal, disjointed, uncanny and captivating. "Hypothetical Paths of Silence" ranges from doomier rhythms to more brutal, modern extreme metal, and "The Axis of Horror" is again a lurching titan that excels in its slower pace. One other amazing track would be "Hybrid Requiem Phenomenon", with some truly bizarre, dense guitar work and troubling atmosphere.
Inactive Theocracy is a dark record, yet through the compositions, rays of hope and plagues of light evolve and penetrate down through the dense, rusting industrial urban terrain. Often, when listening, I imagined a collaboration of Red Harvest, Voivod and the more progressive Borknagar material. Sound amazing? Reverence contains many such aesthetics, and more, so if you like your black metal experimental, this is a recommended listen.
Highlights: Breath, When the Light Blossoms, The Axis of Horror, Hybrid Requiem Phenomenon
Verdict: Epic Win [9/10]