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First, this release has only one thing in common with Von, and that's the leading member Von Goat. The music itself is completely different, but more interesting. Ancient riffs coming from the beginnings of black metal spiced with good drugs and thickened with a good portion of perverted and unique brutality. This combination might seem quite common nowadays, but this music is very different and much more interesting than bands who are trying to imitate the psychedelic sound just for the sake of it. VON GOAT makes it all sound as natural as possible and is still straight funereal black metal like was common during its first wave. No idiotic attempts in sounding avant-garde. The aspects of drug- induced psychedelia can be found mainly in four intros that put people in a rather uneasy state, which is then transformed into an evilness of the upcoming tracks. Some melodies remind me of old school, silent horror movies that had a consuming sense of insecurity and crawling terror of what may happen next, and these are the things that I value highly in black metal. Here I get it in a very high doses!
When listening to this album I have an occasional sense that I know these sounds very well and that I have already heard them from some older band, but it still sounds so fresh and unique. I do not remember when I felt like this for the last time. A great album and I am glad it is not as disappointing as a reunion of his previous band.
--- Originally written for Morbid Abominations zine #2 ---
In the first place I'd like to make it clear, for those who might not know, that VON GOAT shouldn't be related in any form with all the drama that arose from VON's resurrection. This project has nothing to do with infamous Von Venien nor with controversial and grotty seal VON MUSIC GROUP. While Septic Illumination was unfortunately launched right after the polemics stirred by VON's reunion, it's a work that has been macerating for years and reflects to perfection the anguish, decadence and darkness seemingly experienced by VON's mastermind Shawn Calizo (a.k.a S. von "Black Cactus" Goat) during a whole decade estranged from music scene.
Septic Illumination is quite musically complex: an organic vibration immersed in most cavernous Black Metal's murk and a no return journey that I recommend to those who find delight submerging into putrid swamp depths. It's precisely due to its complexity that I feel the analysis of some of which I believe to be the most noteworthy tracks is the best way to describe such a recording.
The album starts with a brief and tenebrous preface followed by "The Gathering": a monster riff beneath the wall of a maddening guitar's noise that splinters your skull until the rumbling gives way to an intermezzo of bizarre melodies that fade with a density that would befit SAMAEL's "Worship Him" while emanating a disconcerting beauty.
Something similar happens to "Thru Your Skull" which irrupts as a tribute to old PROFANATICA to later transport you to passages of pure paranoia and chaos, creating an insane atmosphere that would go unnoticed in BEHERIT's "The Oath of BlackBlood".
However, "My God, Your God" relents the previous display of audible violence and show us a majestic hymn of tortured doom where Goat tears his throat out to bleeding to battle the disharmony and distortion emerging from guitars, like a very primeval MY DYING BRIDE starting to decay.
"Syringes" is another exhibit of the richness and variety in this album, where Calizo blends the atmosphere from the demos era of VARATHRON or ROTTING CHRIST's "Passage To Arcturo" with psychedelic passages straight from the 60's/70's.
There's also place for Black/Death's utmost pestilence and "Spiders" makes an excellent example. This time old and new gurus as TEITANBLOOD, ABHORER and even old VON come to mind. The track slows down to give us the feeling of sinking in agony in the density of aforementioned swamp meanwhile the percussion marks the glorious tempo characteristic of CELTIC FROST's beginnings.
"Poison Bottle" is pure hypnotic cruelty plagued with beheritian whispers while "Voodoo World" takes us back to emaciating brutality with thundering blast beats to later play with a "Sabbathy" riff that convey us the psychedelia that brands most of the album.
The lyrics and artwork are in perfect tune with the musical plane, something uncommon that has influenced its highest rating. Same happens to production, which is perfect to me, even if some would consider it as unorthodox. Drums sound thick in some passages acquiring considerable prominence, guitars sound sharp and bass intensity reminds that which Necrobutcher from MAYHEM recorded in "Deathcrush" (See "Syringes").
I believe, no doubt, that this work is a milestone in present scene. I can assure that those who understand the album will experience an unprecedented feeling. Give it a listen (maybe some will need a couple more), judge by yourself, and don't let the gossip that spread after that fateful London show bias your experience