PICK OF THE WEEK: Thantifaxath’s return brings disturbing, weird violence on ‘Hive Mind Narcosis’

Photo by mgmphotoco

Total psychological devastation when listening to music isn’t everyone’s thing, and that’s totally understandable because being taken apart each brain impulse at a time can be painful. It also can be an incredibly stimulating experience if you’re open to taking a trip with something that isn’t easily digested or understood and exists in musical chaos that presents multiple challenges.

Canadian monsters Thantifaxath never seemed interested in creating art that goes down easy, and their new opus “Hive Mind Narcosis” is sure to leave people perplexed and lost. Which is fine, because not all music should strive to comfort or amass a larger audience. Bands such as Thantifaxath have a particular mission to get whatever black chaos reigns in their minds and hearts, and if that connects with a niche of listeners, great. If not, probably the same feeling. We have not heard from the band—the lineup is shrouded in mystery, and they performed fully cloaked—in nine years, and that was their eye-opening debut “Sacred White Noise,” and things have only gotten more bizarre since then. Black metal is the base, but there are psychedelic elements, noise, doom, and death, making this a fully realized piece sonically and one that thematically that plays with the conflict of being completely repulsed by something but also accepting its existence. It’s kind of how I feel about salt and vinegar chips.  

“Solar Witch” instantly fries brains, howls boiling, psychedelic madness bubbling over the surface. “The solar witch rises!” is howled as the strange aura mangles and increases body temperatures, and the weirdness increases as the warping playing gains speed, the scraping leaving dizziness behind. “Surgical Utopian Love” is the longest track at 10:58, the track smashing its way in as the raw howls torment, leaving the room spinning dangerously. The track takes on a horror soundscape essence as the bizarre transmission continues to ooze oil, powering through smashing jolts and a storm twisting back into full force. Manic energies spike as adrenaline and cortisol pump, eventually liquefying and giving way to a synth scape that swallows everything with one gulp. “The Lost Wisdom of Wolves” brings drilling guitars and beastly howls, the cosmic void opening its jaw for digestion. Some calmer air mixes into the insanity, guitars and growls penetrate, and a strange aura develops and brings on the nausea.

“Burning Kingdom of Now” burns with prog fuel, guitars melting and the unhinged screams mangling as the heat increases. The playing thrashes but also slurs drunkenly through the chaos, feeling sinister and strange, a rambling being with no idea of its own strength taking down walls. “Hungry Ghosts” ignites with steely riffs and speak-like cries, the playing intensifying the psychological punishment being dealt in spades. Fiery growls scorch with violent intent, energy cascades, and guitars collide and send bolts of electricity into the universe. “Blissful Self Disassembly” arrives in an angelic glaze, like your blurry eyes trying to make sense of the early morning. Noises pulse as the playing unloads, the drums turning bones to powder, alien visions burning through reality and soaring toward closer “Mind of the Sun” that slips into an instant flurry. Growls maim as tornadic fury arrives, melting into psychedelic hues and damage. Your mind can’t help but race as relentless pressure amplifies, bringing panic-inducing devastation that leads into a fog and brings a vicious end.

The mystery that surrounds Thantifaxath as a whole and “Hive Mind Narcosis” is what makes this so interesting and alluring right off the bat, black metal that feels like it arrives from elsewhere and is opening portals in your brain. There’s a mental push and pull going on here, and it’s deliberate, leaving the listener the responsibility of putting together the pieces and figuring out what they mean. It’s not an easy assignment, but it’s a mountain you’ll climb in the dark against your will, trying to find a glimmer of light in a smother blackness that makes you nerve endings surge at every turn.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/shop/

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