How do you describe the indescribable? Giving up isn’t an answer, especially when there’s a record you need to talk about, so how do you go about putting into words the strange emanations that are torturing and blistering your hearing? I guess you just try really hard and hope for the best.
This certainly is not the first time we’ve encountered Ævangelist, the bizarre black metal force that hails from the United States but might as well originate in one of those weird Martian landscape boasting those strings of water. Every time I approached this band when they’ve released new music over the years, it’s always been a challenge. That’s not just from a writing standpoint but as a listener, as well. This band is anything but standard or formulaic, and each of their records finds different ways to baffle you. Their new fourth creation “Enthrall to the Void of Bliss” (released by rock-solid 20 Buck Spin) is as black, spellbinding, and confounding as anything they’ve released to date, and traveling with this album takes you into hellish tunnels and through portals that will leave you questioning whether you’re even alive. It’s an experience unlike any other metal band, merely because no one else of making these kinds of sounds.
While Ævangelist’s lineup is a fluid, ever-changing one in a live setting, the creators here are Matron Thorn, who handles guitars, drums, synth, and the mesmerizing, hallucinogenic harps that glaze the record, as well as Ascaris, who is on vocals, saxophone, piano, and other noises. As noted, describing this record is damn near impossible, as you really have to sit down with this and absorb the madness. I keep imagining I had been hypnotized by some magician of the dark arts, led into corners of existence normally not available to people on the normal planes, and left to stare at colors and images that don’t even have words attached. It’s a really odd adventure you’re on, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself a little overwhelmed as these demonic incantations sweep over you.
The record opens on the wings of “Arcanæ Manifestia,” where guitars sprawl all over, the melodies immediately leave you disoriented, and the growls begin to scatter and scathe. The pace later grows muddy, with maniacal hisses and shrieks pricking your skin, sick swirling threatening to leave the contents of your stomach on the floor, and the music stomping and fading. “Cloister of the Temple of Death” has a pretty great riff getting things going, eerie noises chilling, and echoing, disorienting sounds spilling out. It feels like being in the middle of a codeine syrup-laced dream, with the harps binding your brain, sung chants rising, and eventually heavy thrashing bloodying lips. The back end is plastered with blood-curdling shrieks and a spiral of hell. “Gatekeeper’s Scroll” has guitars marring, gurgling growls that sound like tar collecting in the back of Ascaris’ throat, and a slow-churning assault. Warped singing that feels like it’s coming from the middle of an out-of-body experience emerges, with death growls returning and melodies lapping over it all. “Alchemy” is the oddball, with atmospheric winds whipping, strange beats popping out, and spoken incantations boiling, with Ascaris murmuring, “Souls like water.”
“Levitating Stones” has riffs rushing, strange weeping that feels dark and disturbing, and choral parts coating the background, giving the song a haunting presence. Fierce growls then tear at you, with fucked up patterns stymying your senses, smeared shrieks and warbles adding to the horrors, and the darkness flowing into “Emanation.” There, moans sound like an injured soul, be it physically, mentally, or both, suffering, ending in wet chokes. A black riff starts boiling and tears into the track’s body, rampaging and destroying, eventually imploding and building itself back up again. Monstrous sounds drill you, with the guitars dizzying and hammering away, leaving your world spinning as you dig into 13:37 closer “Meditation of Transcendental Evil.” The harp staggers and strikes, with nearly inhuman cries reaching out and horns stinging your nerves. It’s a hellish display, like you’re in the middle of a dark nightmare from which you’ll emerge deep in fever. There are so many layers of insanity, it’s impossible to even reach a hand to the surface. Cool drum beats and scary ambiance mix and form a different type of a ghoulish being, with everything folding into a noise pit, with sparks flying at you, riffs forming a relentless vortex, and sanity finally emerging as the dark visions finally relent. How you feeling? Pretty discombobulated? Unaware of where or even who you are? Believe it or not, that’s normal.
Ævangelist continue to remain strange players in the metal world, a band that twists and warps sounds, making you wonder if what you’re hearing is music or some sort of transmission from beyond. “Enthrall to the Void of Bliss” is a step further into their vortex of madness and a creation even they won’t be able to repeat. With 20 Buck Spin behind them, hopefully “Enthrall to the Void of Bliss” can get even more traction in the States and find a larger helping of people to terrify.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.newobliviongospelmusic.com/
To buy the album, go here: http://www.20buckspin.com/collections/music
For more on the label, go here: http://www.20buckspin.com/