Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Thantifaxath takes its metal spaceward on Void Masquerading as Matter (2017)

One of my favorite black metal albums of the past decade was "Sacred White Noise" by Thantifaxath. It's a sprawling masterpiece of mindfuck horror, without relying on tropes like blood, gore, or vulgarity, but with actually terrifying concepts like eternity and purgatory. It's all handled tastefully too, in my opinion--with reverence to the craziness that must have went into the writing.

img via Bandcamp
The band just released "Void Masquerading as Matter" this month. The news caused excitement to flow upwards and out of me. I will now review the new EP briefly.

This is the kind of music I'd like to make someday. I could listen to this over and over. Thantifaxath have done it again with this EP. Four songs, 33-ish minutes of music, takes you on an epic journey, is sparsed out properly, stylistically unheard of, and will probably be imitated in the future.

This is weird, but I'm starting with track 2. I listened to track 1 a week or so ago when it was released, and it kind of flew in one ear and out the other. I wasn't paying enough attention. Gonna skip it this time. #dealwithit

"Self Devouring-Womb" is scary and hisses all the way thru, but takes the listener thru the whole gamut. It starts slow, has a big rise in its vast middle, and ends with a completely different type of sound and style, adding to the mythos of these ideas they've conjured up there in Toronto, the Far East Stronghold of Canada.

"Cursed Numbers" comes in so smoothly after the previous track that you'll miss it if you're not listening closely for the track change. So far, the songs seem to be thematically connected. This song features the band trying out some new ideas, but they're still staying really close to the style they've created.

Somehow these guys make black metal that sounds like no other black metal I've ever heard. Sometimes I'm reminded of the band Shining--not the suicidal depressive one, but the Blackjazz one.

The way they slow down at the 4-minute mark of "Cursed Numbers" and feature these processed distorted vocals is really cool. Then the sounds of black metal space appear. Sometimes this band reminds me of a sci-fi film. Like "Alien." But they seem firmly rooted in this idea of the afterlife and massive spans of time. This album seems more sci-fi than religious, like their last album, "Sacred White Noise." But the musical style is the same--written and performed by the same three guys, obviously. At least I don't think there were any lineup changes.

Around 7:40 on "Cursed Numbers" the lead guitar is amazing to me. There are sounds of screaming too. It's super scary and technically proficient. The time signature is about as far from 4/4 as you can get, yet it's still head-bob-able.

"Void Masquerading as Matter": do you like new-school Sunn O)))? Then you'll like how this track starts. It's beautiful, quiet, and thought-provoking, and contains perfectly captured performances by at least one guest vocalist.

And wow, do they stick with the theme on this closing track. It's a wild ride. I'm tense the entire time. That was masterfully executed. Well done, Thantifaxath. I'm not going to review the first track, you can listen to it yourself, and I've gotta put my kids to bed.