Kurt Vile & the Violators
Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 5/12
Written by: MST on 07/03/2013 18:12:34
I made the decision to review this EP because I had put it on my Top 10 of 2012, only to realise that it was released in 2011. Great. But still, this debut EP from the Canadian black metal band Thantifaxath deserves all the attention it can get, although it doesn't seem as if the band actually want any attention at all; the musicians wish to remain anonymous, and this EP was only released on very limited casette tapes and vinyl (no CD or digital version as far as I've been able to gather), and the band doesn't even have a page on Facebook or Bandcamp - now that's keeping a low profile.
The EP consists of an intro and three tracks, all of which amounts to a total length of just under 16 minutes. In terms of genres, the music lies somewhere between atmospheric and depressive black metal, with guitars bearing resemblance to the Frenchies in Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord. The heavy use of keyboards and the wall of sound created by the guitars in combination with said keyboards conjures up an amazing atmosphere that at times rivals that of atmospheric BM bands like Wodensthrone. But there's and ever-present vibe of depression throughout the EP, whether we're talking about the shrieked vocals, the depressive riffs or the title of one of the songs: "Freedom Is Depression". Or you could listen to the lyrics: "I listen to the river / It gives me instructions / How to forget the pain / And sink to the bottom // It carries my body / Back to the ocean / To free me from ten thousand years / Of failure". And if that doesn't do it: "You were the love of my life". Indeed, it appears parts of the album were inspired by a broken heart. Thus, some of the lyrics may be hard for some people to take seriously.
The depressive nature of the EP is evident as intro "10.000 Years of Failure" opens with keyboards and a choir somberly singing "Lonely now..", before "Violently Expanding Nothing" starts things properly with blasting drums, tremolo riffs, keyboards and painful, depressive shrieks. A quiet, atmospheric section leads up to the only real weak spot on the album: the guitar solo in "Violently Expanding Nothing" is, to put it bluntly, boring and completely out of place on this record. But what follows is another intense section that opens with the line featuring the infamous L-word mentioned in the last paragraph.
For a debut EP, the production is remarkably good. Nothing is drowned out by anything else; the vocals are always audible, but they don't take out too much space; all aspects of the drums are there; and the bass is even at the front of the mix, but (again) without overshadowing anything. For a 16-minute EP it feels strangely complete, because although you're left begging for more when the music stops, it doesn't feel as if there should be more material on the record - it just requires another spin, and after that, yet another spin. If Thantifaxath should desire attention outside of the underground, it would come quite naturally, such is the sheer quality of this, their only release.
Download: Violently Expanding Nothing, The Madness Into Which All Things Flow
For The Fans Of: Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord, Wodensthrone
Release date: 27.04.2011
Dark Descent Records