entheogen – without veil, nor self (2017)

i love it when i know nothing about a piece of artwork before experiencing it and that’s just what happened with entheogen. after being caught off-guard and mind-blown, i checked the encyclopaedia, only to see alex poole (of skáphe, martröð and chaos moon) on vocals and thought “oh, that’s why”. we also have other members of chaos moon and esoterica, jack blackburn, with an inhuman variation and mechanical precision on drums (that is comparable only to hellhammer or frost) and steven blackburn on numerous layers of guitar. bradley tiffin on bass completes the quartet, functioning as rhythm guitar.

who doesn’t love a good intro? those menacing soundscapes of uneasing horror and sound effects? the building of a good premise, an overture, an appetiser? but the fulfilling of that premise is what we actually love. and the opener “desolation lyre” does just that, around the 1:20 mark. it explodes, keeps on exploding, injecting pure euphoria, joy and black metal glory through the listener’s ears.

as the album progresses, the atmosphere created by layers and layers of guitars and much reverb serves to numb the mind into a state of phantasmagoria. the overall doom-fitting (chanting) sound is in such beautiful contrast with the (generally) pacey black metal structure that it brings tears of joy to your eyes. i can hardly remember such extravaganza in drum work, an insane speed at frequent blast-beat passages, dispersed by deliciously creative and stunning variation, and practically jazz drumming. maybe “kriegsmaschine – enemy of man”? this beauty in drum variation, topped by melodic / rhythmic basslines ensure overwhelming excitement. song writing, as meticulous as it is, disregards anything orthodox as expected, and you may be caught off guard with the next unexpected shift of tempo, passage, doom or death metal structures etc. not a single boring moment. all this craze creates a perfect chaos, if not cacophony. this may be a trademark of alex poole’s projects but ı dare to say this is as close to perfection as it gets and a wonderful balance between atmosphere and variation.

and mind you, this is a rocky ride, a very demanding and complex structure and you will barely have any time to enjoy every single moment of black metal beauty, rather delve in the dark and cold overall atmosphere. this makes “without veil, nor self” a present that keeps on giving. makes you turn the volume up. play again. and again. i (maybe hastily) named “novae militiae – gash’khalah” “one of the best releases in 2017 so far”, but entheogen – without veil, nor self may well be one of the best black metal albums i’ve ever had the pleasure of listening. thank you.

fun fact: entheogen, as it seems, refers to psychoactive substances that serve religious purposes. those substances have apparently been used to evoke spiritual experiences and hallucinations. this, then is its audio equivalent.


project omega – mors introivit in orbem terrarum (2017, ep)

i wasn’t expecting this. 2017 looks like it’s trying to match 2016 in terms of black metal. now we have project (not deathspell) omega, from the unlikely georgia, a one man project of, you guessed it, omega. ok enough with the wordplay.

omega is quite straightforward with his approach. as the first beats hit, there’s a never ending experimentation. this is, avant-garde black metal? progressive? jazz-black? despite including just 4 songs and clocking at a quarter hour, the ep is filled with alternating riffs, passages, constantly syncopated drumming frenzy and a showcase of his musical prowess as well as virtuosity, especially shining in the drumming section.

the mood and sound vary slightly between songs; while the opener switches between fury and despair, with way too frequent start-stops, the second track is more on the sad side, the third one is thick and bass-y and the closer is a fine black metal piece with the best continuity. the sound is hardly any different than the other omega (you know, the deathspell one), while remarkably cleaner, except the obviously processed and muddy vocals. however, it is a nice touch that we can actually hear the singing, which is rather thick and throaty compared to the typical mono black metal shrieking.

all the goodies and the obvious dream theater-ing aside, i somehow wonder if this constant shifting of tempo, syncopation and experimenting benefit (black) metal. don’t get me wrong, the feeling is there. you feel the dark and despair of a sweet black metal release. but, (here comes the but) you do not have the groove, the continuity. take the first song, which is a prime example of complexity over continuity, you have a hard time getting into the groove, you don’t know how or when to bang your head or play the air-drum (yes this is a thing). and i’m not saying the release is a failed attempt, i’m quite sure he doesn’t give a single flying fuss (the other f word here) about continuity. so take this as it is, as it is intended, and just admire the structural complexity and excellence. for those who also want the groove, luckily we have nagelfar.

kriegsmaschine – enemy of man (2014)

the end of times. kriegsmachine is calling it. singing about it. playing to it. in the utmost cold and lifeless manner, enemy of man is on full assault mode, relentlessly bringing the end of times throughout.

one cannot mention the immense polish black metal scene without kriegsmachine, sharing the drummer (darkside) and the main man (m.) of mgła, with the addition of constant band member destroyer on vocals. however, it is quite different than mgła and a fresh breath in black metal artistry. their second full-length enemy of man is a quite different and progressive gem, anything but readily accessible, catchy or uplifting. the war machine hits you. pounds you. on and on. and it takes more than a few listens to explore the magnitude of awesomeness under heavy battery.

first things first, more than half of the album is drum work. an incredible and respect-demanding amount of time was obviously spent on writing and performing the drum tracks. such a listening experience (such technicality very variation wow). darkside never gives a break from his unbelievably complex and hard to follow drum sections, with a heavy wtf? effect, leaving the listener wondering if it is actually a single human being with two arms behind the drum kit. the riffing is integrated within and under the drums, with a fitting apocalyptic tune. while the riffs themselves may be found as nothing unordinary, the atmosphere created by the guitars, gloomy and unsympathetic, complements the whole end of times theme masterfully, supported by such a meaty bassline. and last but not least, destroyer utters the chants of apocalypse with inhuman apathy towards life. his vocal range is quite wide and thick, accentuating the death metal sound so evident in polish black metal.

the album showcases a non-conventional approach to song writing, with black metal riffing playing second fiddle, so to speak. at the end of the album and after the ear ringing ends, there are hardly any riff-led melodies lingering. this emphasis on structure rather than melody is the obvious trademark. this is not done, however, for the sake of continuity. the music flows beautifully and brutally, as the listener is constantly battered by bass/snare/cymbal, growls and riffs in stormy weather. you even have some groovy outros. and the overall effect lies in the way in which all this is brought together, chaotic, distant and grandiose, commanding repetitive listens to get through the lava lake of drums to reach the substance.

the whole album is a gleaming pinnacle of black metal artistry in song writing and execution. the rather deep sound encourages you to turn the volume constantly up. besides the intro of beautiful chanting in german, this is all drums, guitars, bass and vocals and a progressive masterpiece of black metal. still, the “progressive” is not a separate part from the “black metal”, as it often is the case. in this sense of integration, kriegsmachine may be accepted as successful as (the unavoidable comparison) deathspell omega. the album contains 6 attention demanding and lengthy songs of equal calibre but the opening track is legendary. wow poland, nice going. keep it coming.

deathspell omega – paracletus (2010)

after rather obscure and newcoming black metal bands, i opted for a cult today. the last album of french gentlemen (to this date) paracletus showcases the band’s most mature and mesmerising moments. it is as complex, hard-to-listen, chaotic and masterfully crafted as ever, but deathspell omega’s mastery is their success in integrating all the progressive and avant-garde elements into the black metal structure seamlessly. all those odd time signatures, chaotic (but orderly) passages, bizarre repetitions and reprises  and such shenanigans never distract you from the overall gloomy and hopeless athmosphere that is deathspell omega. of all the tracks, the anguish-filled closing song apokatastasis panton is my favourite. the french make some of the nicest and most insane black metal. take antaeus, arkhon infaustus or the musical devilry we know as blut aus nord. thank you france. the wine may be overpriced, though. 

nispeten az bilinen yeni gruplardan sonra bugün bilindik bir şeyler dinlemek istedim. fransız beyefendilerinin (şimdilik) son albümü paracletus, grubun ustalık eseri. alıştığımız ve sevdiğimiz üzere, karmaşık, dinlemesi zor, kaotik  ve ustaca yapılmış. aslında deatspell omega’nın gerçek ustalığı bütün progresif ve avangart unsurları black metal yapısına yerleştirmesinde yatıyor. kullanılan aksak ritm, karmaşık (ama düzenli) geçişler, tuhaf tekrarlar gibi teknik ıvır-zıvır dinleyiciyi kasvetli ve umutsuz deathspell omega atmosferinden uzaklaştırmıyor. şarkılar içinden acı dolu kapanış parçası apokatastasis panton favorim. sanırım fransızlar en güzel ve ruh hastası black metal’i yapıyorlar. antaeus veya arkhon infaustus mesela. veya blut aus nord adıyla bilinen güzellik. şaraplar biraz pahalı olsa da teşekkürler fransa.