5. BULL OF APIS BULL OF BRONZE, ‘Offerings of Flesh and Gold’ (Tridroid/A Moment of Clarity)

I realized this year that I hadn’t done enough work here to celebrate the work Tridroid Records has done, but I realized part of that reason is their cassette releases often drop after I’ve written up a record after it had been released on other formats elsewhere. Luckily, they snuck one up on me with “Offerings of Flesh and Gold,” the debut from Colorado/Washington black metal monsters Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze, and it absolutely floored me. It still does some months after absorbing the promo they sent my way and the Bandcamp version I immediately purchased so I could have it with me anywhere I went. This is a revelatory experience that, if you haven’t visited with it yet, stop and do that now.

This album is three tracks spread out over 46 minutes that seem to go flying by, and the experience you will have will be unlike anything else you took on this year. That’s how confident I am that once more people hear this record, it’ll be a watershed moment. The band—vocalist/synth player Achaierai, guitarist/bassist Athshean, drummer Yaeth—without question embrace anti-fascist and anti-capitalist thinking and urge listeners to look within themselves for power when battling against such insurmountable odds. It’s a noble stand, and even though that’ll grate at some people, good. Not like those folks are having a banner year with credibility and humility anyway.

“O! Smile of Blood” starts the record with noise pounding, the spirit spreading quietly and dangerously, and an ambient haze washing itself over everything, as throaty buzzes emerge and terrify. About 4:30 into the 13:10 mauler, the first words are uttered as Achaierai warbles, “From the cacophonous roar, beauty springs, a blood-streaked rose rising from a pile of shit.” The track then catches fire as the growls blaze, the guitars go into tornadic convulsions, and maniacal lurching keeps the assault bloody and real. “What Awaits Us (A Void Is But an Open Mouth)” starts with clean guitars trickling, light drums tapping, and then a sudden opening into crazed shrieks and guitars beginning to stampede. The track encircles you and easily could bring on panic when serenity sets in for a moment, letting the wounds heal before the pace jolts again. The howls hover like a hungry vulture, the feeling is menace and torture, and the track ends in a smoking pile. “Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze” ends the record and is a mammoth at 22:13, of which each second is used wisely. Sounds pulsate, clean guitars bleed, and the first lines are spoken with Achaierai pointing, “We cover our heads in reverence, and so our station is known, what we do today will reverberate throughout eternity.” Once its mercy is delivered much later, you’ll be devastated emotionally and mentally, and you’ll also realize you’ve witnessed one of the best black metal records of the entire calendar year. All hail Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze, and here’s to much more. (June 21)

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/BullOfApisCO/

To buy the album, go here: https://bullofapisbullofbronze.bandcamp.com/album/offerings-of-flesh-and-gold

Or here (CD): https://amomentofclarityrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/offerings-of-flesh-and-gold

Or here (cassette): https://tridroid.bandcamp.com/album/offerings-of-flesh-and-gold

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/amomentofclaritymusic

And here: https://www.facebook.com/TridroidRecords/

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