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“Give me some baby blood.” This disc is called Tetragrammatical Astygmata and as I listened for the first time I kept hearing King Diamond’s voice in my head, “Elohim... Adonai... Tetragrammaton.” Averse Sefira returns with new material, the long awaited sequel to 2001’s Battle’s Clarion. The most important issue to me is can this possibly live up to the back catalog. Over the last several years no American band has gotten more airtime on my cd player than Averse Sefira.
I have been listening to this disc nonstop of a few days and I get more out of it with each spin. Ten songs, fifty minutes, a few pauses here and there to catch your breath, like the end of “Hierophant Disgorging,” otherwise full on intensity. Once again unexpected time changes and swirling guitars force your full attention. The level of technicality is high and the skill of execution is equal to the task they set before themselves. At least there is one band that meets expectations. Anyone out there that is a fan, this disc is mandatory. My favorite is “Helix In Audience”, which flows right into “Mana Anima,” with a brief interlude, making for one nearly 15 minute long piece that demands full attention. The drumming is beyond good and is allowed to take over for a bit about four minutes in. The sparse lyrics allow for lengthy melodic passages, and add more power when the vocals do come in. I find myself looking up at the speakers in concentration, which helps focus my mind on the music, blocking out external forces like my work environment. “Mana Anima,” starts quietly and builds slowly in harshness and volume. An absence of melody is what stands out, grating and rhythmic with the harshness of the vocal delivery dragging you along to the final extended distortion of an ending, like the plaintive wail of a far off siren that takes two minutes to disappear.
There is no doubt this album, like its predecessor, will make my top ten for the year.
I can appreciate the effort and time that went into crafting this album and if the next one is going to be this good I won’t mind waiting until 2010 to hear it. In the meantime I’ll go listen to Black Masses.
Originally written for http://teethofthedivine.com
This is the third album by Averse Sefira and it is definitively a milestone for black metal in the New World. "Tetragrammatical Astygmata" is, for sure, one of the most powerful black metal albums ever released in the USA.
The album starts with a short intro called "Exordium". Just like in their other albums intros, the soundscape was created with no keyboards (courtesy of the enigmatic The Lady Of The Evening Faces). Your speakers literally explode when the first "real" song begins. And it is appropriately called "Detonation".
At this moment, the first thing which is possible to notice is that the sound production is far dirtier and more aggressive than in the previous albums. However, it is always perfectly possible to understand everything that is happening in all the songs. "Tetragrammatical Astygmata" was recorded at Necromorbus Studio and this made a big difference in relation to the past works. The sound is sharp and massive, being evil and clear at the same time. The vocals are also more aggressive and sound even more satanic than ever.
The songs are complex, being ultra-fast most of time but also having numerous tempo changes. You will never have a rest in here! It is impossible not to get impressed with the work of drummer The Carcass. His sense of extremism is outrageous and his precision is psychotic (more people should take notice of this man's skills behind a drum kit).
The atmosphere which emanates from the songs is impressive. Averse Sefira's ability in creating claustrophobic ambience is supreme and the whole album passes this impression of "chaos under control". Guitar riffs are aggressive and played with anger. Sanguine (the one behind the guitars), in order to generate the forementioned chaos, offers insane dissonant chords all the time, giving the listener the impression he must have more than only 5 fingers on his left hand. But these riffs are as dissonant as they are functional and the transition from the pure sonic onslaught to the more melodic parts is very well done. Bassist Wrath delivers some great work as well, playing creative bass lines which have personality enough to follow ways of their own, not staying in the guitars shade all the time. That's remarkable on tracks like "Detonation" or "Hierophant Disgorging".
By the way, the highlights: well, the entire album is awesome, indeed. However, "Helix In Audience" has some sinister and insane melodies which make this one of the best songs ever by Averse Sefira. Also "Plagabraha" is worthy of mentioning: a shorter but extremely powerful fast track. Other incredible moments are "Hierophant Disgorging", "Cremation Of Ideologies" and "Sonance Inumberate".
Do yourself a favor and buy this wonderful album. Also if you can, attend some Averse Sefira live concert. That's black fucking metal in its purest and strongest form.