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meshing harsh menace and noisy strangeness - 95%

gerrobbo, July 23rd, 2008

Before things went irreparably pear-shaped in the Thralldom camp, the New Yorkers executed some of the weirdest and most disturbing black metal of the new millennium. If 2006’s parting shot ‘A Shaman Steering the Vessel of Vastness’ was supreme, then debut full-length ‘Beast Eye Opened to the Sky’ – released on Halloween 2003 - announced the genesis of an awesome creative force that imploded after only three definitive albums.

What made this band so special was the unique dynamic of their work - a result of the disparate influences brought to the table by its two main creative forces: Killusion and Jaldagar. The former is an extreme metal devotee while the latter claims responsibility for introducing the noise/electronics elements to Thralldom’s trademark caustic potion. On this, the union is glorious. Harsh metal and noise collide to create a black metal volume with genuine UG credibility.

Listening back over ‘Beast Eye…’ reminds me just how criminally overlooked these guys were. The line-up for this release was completed by Hierosis and Thrall, and the quartet managed to craft what is quite simply one of the finest dark albums of all time, meshing harsh menace and noisy strangeness in an inimitable manner. This is classic in every sense of the word and should really be at the very top of everybody’s shopping list.

The music itself has a boot planted firmly in the old school. In terms of influences, all the usual suspects can take a bow. But Thralldom instil their own unique identity and craft a stunning piece of black metal art. Don’t believe the hype surrounding today’s big names; don’t feel that you need something shiny and new; dig out Thralldom’s daring debut instead and bear witness to an expression of pure genius.