Black Cilice’s mystery-shrouded black metal simmers in melodies, storming on ‘Banished From Time’

blaxck-ciliceThere can be a thin line between gorgeous and grotesque. Something that seems horrifying and scary to some could stop the heart of another who is so overcome by the thing that all the person sees is beauty in creation. Even death itself can have elements of beauty if one can look beyond the finality and pain.

All of that comes to a head today with “Banished From Time,” the fourth release from mystery-shrouded one-man project Black Cilice. The music this unnamed entity has made over the course of nearly a decade has been some of the strangest, eeriest in all of black metal. This new five-track, 37-minute creation continues that path, though this music is some of the most approachable Black Cilice art to date. Now, any newcomer to this band, or even this sub-genre, is going wonder what I’m on about after reading that sentence once they hear the music for the first time. What’s going on here remains buried under blankets of sound, and you still must train your ears to hear the vocals most times. But you can’t miss the melodies, the gut-wrenching emotion, and the tidal waves of power that sweep over you. This is a huge step up from 2015’s “Mysteries” and 2013’s “Summoning the Night,” both powerful collections in their own rights. But this record is the best music yet to have the Black Cilice label, and it could be a gateway for the uninitiated.

12Jacket_3mm_spine_all_sides.indd“Timeless Spectre” is the longest track at 9:49, and it’s our opener, as we delve into a fog of noise. That meets up with swelling melodies and cries that sound like they’re coming from an unmarked grave in the middle of the woods. There are some compelling progressions from one movement to the next, with the song feeling raucous and troubling at times, full of spirit at other points. Late in the song, the yells get desperate, as drums crush, and you’re dragged into the mist. “On the Verge of Madness” is rightfully named, as much of the song could make you feel that this is where you’re headed. It’s ominous and stormy at the start, like a soaking weather pattern hanging over a black night. Vocals unleash fire, while the song sweeps into swirling fury. Gazey melodies add more morose texture, while fierce cries and cascading playing rush to the song’s finish.

“Possessed By Night Spirits” unloads punishment right away, and with its 4:55 run time, the shortest cut on the record wastes no time making a dent in your head. The playing is ferocious and dizzying, as mesmerizing melodies loop over and over, making the room spin. Wrenching cries and sweltering melodies add to the thickness, while the final moments splatter blood and bone. “Channeling Forgotten Energies” thrashes away from the start, with chaotic playing and harsh wails doing battle for control. As things go on, the song gets nastier, with troubling howls, creepy playing, and blaring terror pulling everything to the end. Closer “Boiling Corpses” is noteworthy right away for its catchy but devastating drumming, as well as the guitar work that lathers the song in blood. The track manages to be really catchy but also devastating within the same breath, while the vocals carve into your mind one last time, and the stockpile of melodies burn away and disappear into their black smoke.

As buried in mystery as his identity, Black Cilice’s music always finds a way to rip through the murk and deliver its message. “Banished From Time” might not be an easy record for everyone to embrace right away, but give it time. Its veins will stretch into yours, fill you with darkness, and help you see and hear black metal in a way you never imagined possible.

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