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Better known for his blackened industrial noise project Gnaw Their Tongues, the psychotic Dutchman Mories, here under the moniker "M", rapes eardrums and black metal convention alike with side project De Magia Veterum and The Divine Antithesis
From the get-go Mories makes the crux of the album evident. For a man whose earlier work heralds impending loss of genitalia, a pink image of an inverted Christ is relatively tame, but, in combination with the album title, this image is about as subtle as a gun. Mories is adverse to religion, as any black metal musician worth his salt is expected to be, and here strives to create a exceedingly ugly portrayal of matters celestial. The astral nature of the album is notable, and it sounds like heaven is really on fire, and burning fast.
Though DMV (fun acronym, I know) has much more in common sonically with Blut Aus Nord than Mories' main project, it is shrewdly ebbed to speak of one without the other. While GTT (less amusing) has Mories dropping the thick, black weight of his churning Mordor drone on your face, with DMV he lashes out with a whirlwind of furious and scathingly raw black metal coated with fuzz and fueled by ridiculous blastbeats, more like a hissing teakettle than the boiling blast furnace of GTT. Both, however, create a similar uncomfortable feeling, a paranoid nausea. I hesitate to use the word "atmospheric", since that evokes a far prettier image than Mories creates here, but there is definitely an atmosphere to this album, like a noxious, choking cloud with plenty of lightning, shrieks and high-pitched yelps. Lest you think it repetitive, Mories does slip down out of his high buzz and into low head-nodding chug-rumblings and throaty rambles.
Most surprising is the amount of variation Mories manages to wring from a style so prone to repetition. Flaying tremolo-picking gives way to whiny fret-flitting that in turn sinks into chugging. Frantic buzzing turns to doomy dirge and into the depths of straight drone. "Torn Between Ruins, Faith, and the Divine" opens with a guttural roar befitting OSDM.
M's noise sensibilities still show through the exponentially blackened facade. While not exactly underproduced, The Divine Antithesis definitely has an overpowering lo-fi quality. The vocals are generally obscured by the nebulous riffs, which even themselves sometimes become a smear. Although Antithesis is by and large an unrelenting frenetic mass, Mories makes excellent use of the pause. While on first listen they may pass you by, there are sudden and quick breaks where silence reigns for a split second. It seems like a subtle nuance, but the shortest gaps create just enough tension to make the return of noise drop like a pendulous razorblade.
Mories hates Jesus, he hates you, he probably hates this music. He definitely doesn't care what you think. You are simply a lowly witness to his vomiting of sick ire.
-originally written for www.sputnikmusic.com
Mories de Jong is on a mission. A mission to see the human race, that which he so obviously despises with all of his shriveled heart and blackend soul, completely and utterly wiped out of existence. His increasingly popular black noise project Gnaw Their Tongues has been a fantastic and brilliant start to his mass genocide of humanity, but with his side project De Magia Veterum, Mories is going into Total War mode.
Almost completely devoid of song structure and human feeling, The Divine Antithesis is the definition of inhumanity; the ultimate artistic expression of misanthropy. Each track blasts through millions of nearly indecipherable riffs, drums and vocals. It creates a wall of pure destruction that comes erupting out of the speakers, decimating all in its path. Complete sonic devastation is all this album offers. This is both a positive and negative for this fascinating but ultimately limited release.
To talk about this album as specific tracks would not only be doing a dis-service to the album, but also would be a bit pointless: taken as individual tracks, The Divine Anthithesis is not much to talk about. The constant, unending tremolo picking and relentless blast beats are more hypnotic than head banging, and there are few truly memorable individual riffs. Occasionally, demented hints of melody peeks it's desiccated hand from the black soil, and often in brilliant and fascinating ways. But the blast beat rules the day here, and the guitars are trying to race them for most of the record.
But when taken as a whole, The Divine Antithesis is something of a hypnotic, swirling mass of hatred: an endless sea of tortured souls screaming out for release. The guitar playing at times is very technical, and those aforementioned moments of melody and slower tempos allow for seriously awesome listening. The vocals are fantastic, and the hammer of sheer dread this album hammers your school with is impressive and worthy of any listeners time. At the very least, this should be a curiosity listen for anyone looking to discover something totally unique and wholly demented.
As a work of art, The Divine Antithesis is something of a flawed masterpiece. But like any work of art, the visceral nature of the work lessens with time. Without a truly classic concept hidden beneath the surface, it becomes something of a curious novelty as opposed to a timeless work. A painting too impressive to ignore, but not too impressive to end up under a horse-blanket in the attic.
originally posted on http://curseofthegreatwhiteelephant.blogspot.com/
After listening to bands like Drug Honkey, it is hard to believe that any other band can push the limits of creating extreme metal in any other ways. Yet Netherlands' De Magia Veterum proves that such setting of "limits" is pointless with their third full length album, The Divine Antithesis.
One might be tricked into thinking that this is just another shoegaze/post-rock/black metal release with the band logo and the album artwork for this release, yet pushing the play button would instantly prove listeners wrong. Right from the extremely distorted and incoherent riffs from opening track Transfiguration, one can roughly figure out what kind of ride this is going to be - a huge mindfuck to ensure that even the most sane listeners goes insane when forced to listen to this on repeat. The vocals of band mastermind 'M' goes from a grindcore-ish scream/shriek to an extremely low (spoken) vocal style mixed with a gurgling effect, and he utilises them to an extremely effective manner, with the spoken section on Transfiguration pushing the boundaries of one's sanity.
It would be difficult to break down the music on this album into separate instruments, since the wall of noise coming out effectively proves this effort to be futile. The mixing of the album ensures that the drums are constantly mixed as highly as the vocals, and the guitars constantly drowned by fuzz and static, yet this is all in good result for the intentions of De Magia Veterum. At times the frantic and trebly riffs almost remind me of Anaal Nathrakh's style of mixing grindcore and black metal, only pushed to extreme boundaries. 'M' also constantly surprises listeners with random sounding passages such as the short acoustic section on The Stench of Burning Wings and the quiet moment on Burning Hands and a Crown of Flames, giving listeners a false hope of returning to normalcy before breaking out into his usual frenzy style once again. The extreme amount of noise generated by this machine ('M') managed to even make the quiet in between tracks seem jarring after facing one of the worst aural onslaught in recent times.
It would not be surprising for one to think that his record player has jammed as soon as the songs come on the speakers and it certainly takes time and repeated listens to get used to something as abrasive and seemingly mindless as this. People who prefer their conventional styles of extreme metal, stay away for this would probably come across to you as too extreme to be considered music.
The maniacal Dutchman known as Mories (or simply 'M' here) continues his morbid purge into the darkest corners of the human mind throughout "The Divine Antithesis," the stuff of nightmares. Calling the album a twisted, schizophrenic journey into Hell would be a gross understatement; the De Magia Veterum project signals more depravity and torment than an insane asylum. Beneath the carnivorous wave of distortion and loud blast beats lies a demented slice of mincing influences one could dub avant-garde, perhaps the defining factor of this musical lunacy. Shakespeare was right: Hell is empty, and all the devils really are here.
The seven-song doctrine follows an unconventional pattern throughout its routine, most of the time slicing the sonic atmosphere with blaring percussion placed way above everything else and strange black metal riffs orchestrated through bizarre sequences next to vocals usually located in shriek-laden territory. Not a whole lot changes from this formula, but the thirty-five minute escapade remains surprisingly fresh between M's uncharacteristic exploration of violent spiritualism despite a hazy distinction among his material. The only thing that truly blows about this album is its production, which is so poor and floppy I'm sure it was recorded on an analog tape older than Jesus himself; it actually becomes pretty difficult to fully understand just what in the world is going on at some points, and that's being kind.
Nevertheless, the remaining chapters of "The Divine Antithesis" are pretty genuine, though, at least with what the album offers ninety-percent of the time. The bends and shadows are filling enough to at least hook the listener's attention, and that's the real deal-sealer here. Best moments? Gotta say "Torn Between Ruins, Faith, and the Divine," a ghostly number with violins ghoulishly tied into the audio assault so sloppily that it kind of works, and the extraterrestrial chords and virtuoso guitar solo throughout "Angelical Deformity" which morbidly shines in its own unique way. The whole album sounds like a dismembered angel moaning in agony after its body was severed and randomly stitched together by a psychopathic surgeon. Take it as you will, but don’t expect “The Divine Antithesis” to ever submit in this world or the next.
Most will disregard "The Divine Antithesis" as clattering noise, a claim that isn't completely false by some measures. However, the album has a number of noteworthy moments living within its blasphemous halls that bring the estranged record to a new level of twisted brilliance, albeit a flawed one at that. De Magia Veterum is an interesting project; there's more than what meets the eye, and that makes the angel-dismembering album at least worth mention. Something so crazy will only attract a select crowd, so don't even bother with this unless your nerves can withstand the constant bombardment of parched tongues and acts of the unspeakable.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
The previous De Magia Veterum full-length, Migdal Bavel was the equivalent of sonic rapture. A bludgeon of malignant black noise that left me both mesmerized and mutilated. The culmination of 'M's 20+ years crafting blasphemous aural architecture through projects like this one, Gnaw Their Tongues, and various of his former, demo level projects in prior decades. Naturally, I had some rather high hopes coming into The Divine Antithesis, and after a few listens, I cannot say that I'm heavily disappointed. It's not necessarily the measure of the 2009 opus, but it approaches its utter sense of disheveled chaos with a different aesthetic that sometimes feels more annoying than absorbing, more callous than cloying.
As usual, 'M' throws the book at you. Walls of discordant guitar riffs grinding down your spine while both black and spooky, Gothic narrative vocals sound off in unholy unison and the manic programming escalates like a composite phalanx of spastic grindcore drummers. It's essentially the poor man's Deathspell Omega, with a similar effect due to the theistic lyrics and jangling, panicked guitar lines, but this is far cruder; not the sort of music you expect to 'enjoy', even when you are affixed and fascinated to its jubilant torture. I found "The Stench of Burning Wings", with its streams of gallant, colliding noise, and the ravenous, ripping walls of "Burning Hands and Crowns of Flame", the soothing near miss bliss of "Angelical Deformity" with its ringing, down drifting melodies and insectoid droning alongside the deep chants in the bridge break.
The Divine Antithesis is like being molested by a gang of fallen angels in every orifice. It's noisy, abrasive and will truly piss off anyone who is not expecting it. That said, as usual, De Magia Veterum is an acquired taste. You will either fall in line with the sheer chaos or you will fucking loathe it and spit upon the ground 'M' walks on as he's coming up with these nightmare scenarios. Personally, I enjoyed it, even for its differences from the last album, which I preferred. This is the sound of all the world crashing, all beliefs shattering and all hope being cut free from the corporeal human shell to herald the spirit's ultimate collapse unto oblivion. Harrowing.