Posts Tagged ‘Occult’

Malignant Records – TUMRCD117 – 8th January 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

Greek ritual ambient duo, Martyria promise ‘5 stunning tracks of textural depth, sepulchral darkness, and exotic, richly detailed atmospheres’, and are pitched for fans of Dead Can Dance, Funerary Call, Voice of Eye, and Shibalba. I’m not going to feign superior knowledge: I’m only aware of Dead Can Dance from that list, but I have a hunch I know what’s reasonable to expect here. I’m braced for dark, haunting, atmospheric. I’m anticipating compositions which emanate subterranean spiritualism and mystery. And this is precisely what Martyria deliver.

This is dark. Dark in the sense of ominous, eerie. Dark in the sense of foreboding. Dark in the sense of the occult and the otherworldly. Dark in the sense of the unheimlich. Rhythms clatter and patter as wordless invocations float and drift above eternal drones. Dolorous bells herald the arrival of an elongated drone and an ethereal, choral female voice. Bells chime in a whorl of what sounds like didgeridoo as heaving chants and vocalisations conjured from the depths of the diaphragm in monasterial intonations.

At the mid-point of the album, ‘Nekron’, plunges into deeper, darker depths: dank rumblings and distant thunder which registers low on the sonic spectrum, churning at the gut, conjure dark, shadowy visions. It bleeds into the even longer darker, more sinister ‘Nyx’, dominated by cavernous percussion, muffled by distance and depth. It evokes flickering images of candlelit rituals held in carved temples far beneath the surface in secret cave networks.

The final composition, ‘Eschaton’, stretches out over some twelve and a half minutes with wordless vocal evocations and intimations of ancient occultism. It’s not music you can readily understand or cognise: it registers on a level far, far beneath the surface of comprehension. It’s the calling of the earth, the rocks, the trees. It registers and calls to a part of the psyche long-buried. Martyria speaks to the resonant brain, to genetic imprints, to the soul as conveyed through generations of heredity. It speaks to ancient history, knowledge buried through centuries of ‘progress’. Martyria is not a work to comprehend, but to allow to bury its way into the canals of the mind devoted to instinct. Its impact is difficult to quantify or even to explain on a rational, scientific level. And yet, it has impact and resonance – deep, slow-register resonance.

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Martyria – Martyria

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Psychedelic, occult rockers Jess and The Ancient Ones have shared the second track from their brand new album The Horse and Other Weird Tales  which is released on 1st December via Svart Records. You can take a listen to ‘Return to Hallucinate’ here:

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4Jess and the Ancient Ones

Like your experimental noise / black metal to be ulra-dark and heavy with sinister occultism and mystical imagery? The new video from T.O.M.B. (Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy) for the track ‘Awake…Darkness’ from Fury Nocturnus should be right up your darkened, blood-slicked alley…

Ritual Productions – 11th November 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

You might expect that the tracks on an album containing just six songs would consist of long, dawn-out affairs. But not Thralldom’s latest offering: there are a couple that extend beyond the six-minute mark, but in the main, these are short pieces, under four minutes in duration. But in terms of dark intensity, they’re immense.

The introductory instrumental, ‘Cosmic Chains’ is a disturbing vocal cacophony from the bowels of hell which paves the way for the blackened trudge of ‘Chronovisions’, which truly sets the tone for the album as a whole. It’s seriously fucking dark, tangled gothic guitar lines weaving tapestries which depict unspeakable events of demonic torture and pain.

It may be that Thralldom have been silent for over a decade, but is seems that the intervening years since their last release have been spent crawling through subterranean passages by candlelight, stooped, starved and rabid, and battling with marauding demons every step of the way. And so as what’s billed as ‘Thralldom 3.0’ emerge, screaming and agonised into the light, it’s hard to tell if they’ve slain those demons or become partly consumed by them: Time Will Bend Into Horror forges a netherworld of tempestuous torment. The title is fitting in that it reflects the ancient evils which claw their way through the spaces between the crooked notes and mangled power chords which form the fabric of an album which soundtracks a walk through purgatory. In the hands of Thraldom, a four-minute composition feels like ten or more as they grind out the darkest, most oppressive noise.

The angry grey surges of noise which crash and thrash over a violent percussive assault on ‘The Corpse of the Radar Towers Over All’ collides against the churning discord of ‘Dark Grey Mist’, a track which brings elements of Swans’ Cop into a metal maelstrom that’s as black as the canal of Satan’s sphincter. It’s gnarly, alright – and then some – and brings horror in spades.

Thralldom - Time Will Bend

Peaceville – 21st October 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Christ, this is fucking dark. The video which accompanies ‘Abysmal Channelling’ (the album’s bonus track, perversely enough), depicts scenes of an occult ritual, complete with burning incense, singing bowls, self-mutilation, frenzied bell-ringing, pools of blood, all against a backdrop of murky, mangled industrial noise.

Describing themselves as ‘blackened noise occultists’ US act T.O.M.B. (that’s Total Mechanical Occultic Blasphemy) have been going for 18 years now, and have, not surprisingly, remained deep, deep underground. Positively chthonic, in fact.

Fury Nocturnus is their thirteenth release, and while containing thirteen tracks (plus the aforementioned bonus cut), it contains no tunes, and the truth is, it’s very difficult to really establish what the hell’s going on amidst the dense sonic fog. Yes, they’ve fully embraced the

production values of early black metal classics – and it’s perhaps worth noting that Hellhammer, drummer of infamous Norwegian black metal trailblazers Mayhem is a key contributor to this album. This does mean, of course, that the guitars, drums, vocals and dark ambience which pervades every corner of the album is obfuscated by a thick, grainy coating of dinginess. A number of the tracks end abruptly, and there’s a distinctly low-budget, ‘cassette’ feel to this release. But then of course there is. And while occasionally grinding riffs seep through, there are no tunes, no overt structures and for the most part, it’s a seething morass of dark, dark noise cut through with tribal percussion.

Sometimes, there’s a very fine line between portentous and pretentious, grand art and derangement that borders on the dangerously deviant. It’s not entirely clear where T.O.M.B. sit, other than on a throne of bones in a temple hewn into some inaccessible rock face. They’re very much keeping it real in their approach to the music-making process: when creating the field recording soundscapes which feature on Fury Nocturnus, they report that certain necromantic instrumentation was used: human and animal bone, cemetery crypt doors, tombstones and coffins, and audio EVP equipment. I’m inclined to take them seriously if only because I don’t fancy the idea of being the next sacrificial offering, and crucifixion is, I understand, quite a painful way to go. I’m certainly not about to snort with derision about the cliché of the snarling vocals ranting about Christianity on ‘Hoards Rise Now, or any of the album’s many demonic invocations.

It’s not a fun or pleasurable experience, and protracted exposure to this dank, demonic, deviant, and deeply sinister noise feels like an act of self-flagellation. Needless to say, I’d take it over Justin Bieber, Kanye or Katy Perry any day.

 

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