It’s not often that black metal challenges you from an inward perspective. Look, I love this style of music as much as the next person, but how often does it demand personal, psychological challenges where you are forced to confront your true self and break down the way you see and do things?
The band Entheogen is changing that perspective, and their debut record “Without Veil, Nor Self” is a six-track exercise in letting your mind explore your true essence. An entheogen is a psychoactive substance that induces an experience that is aimed at spiritual development (according to Wikipedia, which is accurate 100 percent of the time), and the word is derived from Greek, meaning “generating God within.” Guitarist Steven Blackburn (also of Chaos Moon) describes the music as “an emanation from the depths of my own subconscious,” and it’s clear when you dig into the record, you’ll be able to take the trip right along him and the rest of the band—vocalist/lyricist Alex Poole (Chaos Moon, Skáphe, Martröđ), bassist Bradley Tiffin (Haunter), and drummer Jack Blackburn (Chaos Moon, Accursed Aeons, Esoterica). The music is heavy but mesmerizing, leaving your senses ravaged from the initial onslaught but wholly transformed if you take the trip with them.
“I. Desolation Lyre” sits in strange noises before blasting open, with melodic savagery coming at you in waves and harsh wails dicing skin. The music crushes and dizzies, as strange dissonance spills into the scene, crazed howls pound, and the song rumbles to an end. “II. Sol Genesis” is blistering and cold at the start, as strangeness hovers overhead, and then the clouds burst. The odd pace disorients before drilling into the side of your head, and the vocals go from piercing shriek to guttural growls. The music then begins to destroy, as the drumming clobbers, and everything comes to a weird end. “III. Sol Knell” greets you with speed and fury, as grim vocals and churning guitars meet and mix signals. The playing mesmerizes before it hits a frenetic pace, and the band works to overpower you with strength before the song ends in horrifying echoes.
The fourth portion is the title cut, and it immediately drops the hammer on you, as wild howls swirl away, and cold desolation chills your bones. The drumming again powders your brain, while chaos unfurls, and the track disappears into an icy black hole. “V. Lethean Throat” unloads, paving the way for creaky growls and a smearing pace. The guitars splatter before a wintry mix arrives, and you are immersed in blistering madness and wooshing melodies. The back end is comprised of sinister vocals and stabbing playing, bleeding toward album closer “VI. Pall” and its mentally disfiguring approach. Engorging growls and twisted melodies confound but also leaves a chill, and then we’re into spacey oddness that spills into eerie synth. The track breaks open again, letting in a wave of wrenching growls, destructive drumming, and trickling guitar work as everything dissolves and flows away.
Entheogen aren’t serving up brutality for its own sake, and if your only desire for black metal is barbarism, you may have come to the wrong place. “Without Veil, Nor Self” is a mind-melting album that liquifies your inhibitions and makes you consider these dark arts in a completely different way. You’ll get your dose of heaviness, yes, but it’s cut with sounds that pull you into a vortex of mystery of which you only can make sense if you commit to the full experience.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Entheogen-364247670256606/
To buy the album, go here: http://store.fallenempirerecords.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.fallenempirerecords.com/