In the name of great, unspeakable horrors rising from the depth, as well as the fantasy of great battles of darkness and light, we wrap the week with some music that doesn’t even sound like it was created by humans. And maybe it wasn’t. I wasn’t there when it was recorded, and chances are you were not either. So who’s to say whether this brutal slab of chaos didn’t arise from the depths of the ocean and spread itself into the ears of vulnerable, unsuspecting victims.
The name Chthe’ilist obviously conjures thought of Lovecraftian horror and the mighty Cthulhu, the High Priest of the Great Old Ones who came here from the cosmos and spends much of its existence slumbering in a watery grave. However, the band states the lyrics to their songs are original stories and not derived from the Mythos or any other texts. The ones not conjured in their own minds instead are influenced by various versions of The Legend of Zelda. The music on “Le Dernier Crepuscule” from this Quebec-based death metal band gurgles and mystifies, feeding off the same ideals as Crematory, Demilich, Timeghoul, Convulse, and bands of that nature and allows their terror to reach across eons. The music is baffling and smothering, the vocals have moments where the growls turn into alien-like transmissions, and the band’s seven-track debut record is a smashing, mind-boiling display.
It’s pretty clear from hearing this band play that they’re very well accomplished musicians even before digging into their resumes. This is techy and brutal, but not in a lunkheaded, detached kind of way, and the more I hear it, the more I get consumed by its insane waves of madness. As far as the band goes, we have Philippe Tougas (Atramentus, Sercos, etc.) on vocals, guitars, bass, and synth; Claude Leduc on guitars, bass, and synth; and Philippe Boucher (Beyond Creation) on drums. Their mystifying forays stun you lyrically as well as musically (you might need to spend some time to parse through the lyrics for full absorption of these tales), and their commitment to this fury is both infectious and admirable.
The title cut kicks off the record, a stormy, crackling instrumental that’s more of a scene setter than anything. It brings the fog and mystical elements, mixing with “Into the Vault of Ingurgitating Obscurity” that blasts open into gorging violence. The growls sound like they’re being delivered by a cosmic machine, while the music boils like a science experiment, and the vocals later turn to chilling singing. Terrifying shrieks later erupt, as the guitars hit a proggy push, and the track melts into monstrous noises. “Voidspawn” is slow driving at the start before it starts to warp. Misty keys hang in the air, while the music gets dizzying and disorienting. The growls gurgle like they’re bubbling through mud, and some exploratory guitar work sheds some light onto the murky terrain. “Scriptures of the Typhlodians” unleashes hellish noises, with the song erupting and crushing everything in its wake, and the throaty growls doing damage. More challenging playing arrives, with bizarre whispering sitting underneath the storm, and the back end erupting into violence.
“The Voice From Beneath the Well” begins with water dripping as if in a dark space station, and then the bass starts splattering while the pace ignites. The growls sound delivered from a gargoyle, with the melodies causing your head to spin, and the bass slaps adding some unexpected groove. “Vecoiitn’aphnaat’smaala” is another that sounds like it could have formed in Lovecraft’s brain, but it’s their own piece. The track is tricky and punchy, fast and smothering, with clean singing welling up but later giving way to growls. The soloing hovers and glares, and the latter stages of the song speed up and thrash heavily. “Tales of the Majora Mythos Part I” is full of Zelda folklore, and it was a misty, hypnotic start that flows into piercing guitar squeals. The vocals switch back and forth, from raucous growls to disarming singing, while the soloing tears in out of nowhere and joins up with a pace that starts to mete out destruction. Later, the track hits the mud pits, with bells chiming, pained wails belting, and the piece stretching its haze and capturing minds and souls.
As brutal and astonishing as they are, Chthe’ilist won’t be up every death metal fan’s alley. This is weird, glooping, smeary stuff, and it could take a little time for these songs to have their full effect on you. If you’re excited about unimaginable terrors and death metal that will tangle your brain, tackle “Le Dernier Crepuscule” and get ready to fall into deep, psychological convulsions.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Chtheilist
To buy the album (CD version), go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com/products-page/
Or here (vinyl version): http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com/
Or here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/