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DRAWN AND QUARTERED - review
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HUMANITY DELETE /... - review
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TEITANBLOOD
TEITANBLOOD
Seven Chalices
(Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
58:55min

The threshold an individual crosses when subjected to a rite of initiation is one that can never be reconstructed. The initiate is forever transformed at that point and the universe will never again reflect the same hues that it once did prior to that pivotal moment. During the rite, time becomes re-oriented and restored to a primordial moment resembling the most primal state of existence. The constitution of the individual is obliterated so that he may be reconstructed once again in his newly evolved form. Endowed with new wisdom, the self of the initiate is redefined and honor bestowed upon him. The illumination of initiation rites permeates TEITANBLOOD's "Seven Chalices". The band itself appears to have undergone a form of initiation itself in having lived up to and exceeded the exalted standards they placed upon themselves with their prior releases. More importantly, however, and more illustrative of the concept of initiation is the effect of this album on the listener. Extreme Metal often has characteristics that allow it to operate on a multitude of levels within the listener. The visceral nature of Metal's sonic character charges the primitive and bestial urges within. Yet this music can also be utilized as a platform by which the musician can inculcate the listener with conceptual perspectives. The former represents the aggressive nature of the beast while the latter invokes the light-bearing nature of Lucifer. Merged in accordance with one another, the duality of these forces becomes infinitely more powerful than either force presented alone. We now find ourselves in a new era, located amid omnipresent chaos and alienation due to increased detachedness from the self and the persistent onslaught of information. From our vantage point, we exist in solitude and the entire universe seems beyond our control. In order to contradict this sense of powerlessness, the individual must cultivate the self and harness the energy of this maelstrom of sickness, or else suffocate beneath its oppressive weight. The music of TEITANBLOOD presents an accurate depiction of this reality. As their vehicle for this endeavor, TEITANBLOOD utilizes the raw and frenetic intensity of the bestial Black / Death sound. Enriching their music with a heightened sense of consciousness, the band has managed to capture one of the most eloquent reflections of the mess of modern existence. The bestial Black / Death sound has become the domain of some of the most vapid and unsophisticated members of the Metal community. This trend has only grown worse as the popularity of this sub-genre has swelled in past years - so much so that many of the originators of the style are now half-heartedly returning to the scene to cash in on their legacies. TEITANBLOOD are reclaiming this sound and elevating it to a new level. In a very real sense, this is a ritual of initiation. By dissecting and then rebuilding this music, TEITANBLOOD have ushered in a new dawn within extreme Metal. In much the same way that bands like WATAIN and FUNERAL MIST have done in Black Metal and DEAD CONGREGATION and DROWNED have done in Death Metal, now TEITANBLOOD are illuminating the esoteric nature of bestial Black / Death. A conceptual richness defines the work of all of these bands and serves to draw them together even if each approaches the music from a different angle. What makes this such a profound achievement is the mere fact that the sound of this style of Metal so vividly captures the essence of our dark age when carried out by competent and intellectual musicians such as TEITANBLOOD. There is nothing shockingly new about the music presented here on this album. The riffs are often archetypal and refer back to the foundations of Death and Black Metal - bands such as BLASPHEMY, AUTOPSY, HELLHAMMER, VON, etc are clearly referenced in the songwriting on "Seven Chalices". The pieces, however, are stitched together so effectively that the listener frequently feels that he is discovering an altogether new sound. The songs themselves never fall into unwanted stasis, but instead evolve and decay, dynamically crossing between relentlessly violent speed, dark and somber doom, and everything in between. Vocal incantations howl above the tracks invoking occult imagery from an array of diverse sources. And as with their previous releases, TEITANBLOOD's punctuated use of shrill, attacking guitar leads contributes enormously to the overall perversity of the songs. In the midst of the massacre, TEITANBLOOD intersperse extended and ritualistic interludes that accentuate the mysterious nature of the recording. In these ways, "Seven Chalices" maintains a harmonious, yet precarious balance of opposing forces - ceremony and chaos... structure and entropy... grandeur and filth. There is no way of concluding a review of this album, however, without lauding the exquisite artistic contributions of the artist, TK, whose exceptional art intensifies the effect of this release. In fact, his art is the one aspect of the release that seems to have received virtually unanimous praise. Included with the LP (and presumably the CD, albeit in smaller form) is a pro-printed, zine-style booklet designed to provide to the listener an esoteric guide through the album. Under the specific artistic direction of the band, the artist employs a variety of known and unknown symbols, languages, and images, all gathered and displayed to accentuate the effect of the music. Meticulous attention to detail and selfless devotion to the music characterize the artist's effort here. The book could easily have existed as a separate entity altogether, but evaluating it as an accompaniment to the LP, it is clear that it is even more powerful in conjunction with the music. While the artwork does not fully divulge any answers to the mysteries hidden within "Seven Chalices", it offers symbolic reference points that direct the consciousness of the listener to specific intellectual and spiritual planes. In doing so, it provides essential insight into the mechanisms at work deep within TEITANBLOOD's bold creation. "Seven Chalices" is nothing short of Death Metal alchemy...a precise mixture of sound, image, and idea in such a way that transcends any one of those elements alone resulting in a creation pure and invaluable. www.teitanblood.com, www.noevdia.com

Jason Campbell

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