without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Apart from hardcore Von fans (I am only a recent convert myself) this does seem to have not got the wider attention it deserves, perhaps because Von (or rather "Von Records") managed to alienate a lot of fans with their controversial reunion, before Shawn Calizo wisely jumped ship. This is the result: A short but sweet grim, trippy masterpiece.
This follows on naturally from Goat's work in Von, the trademark signs are there - the rough, guttural, evil vocals rooted in the likes of early Sepultura and Sarcofago, the unique simplicity and rather ritualistic primitivism, the unpolished production values, the almost chant-like lyrics...So what Von fans old and new should want, plus more.
The lyrics are classic Goat but are a long way from the overt Satanism of old Von, somewhat cryptic in comparison as well as clearly rooted in Calizo's own struggles, and whether those struggles with addiction and so on were in the past or to some extent ongoing a the time of this release I have no idea, but it's clearly influenced the drug-warped psychedelia that can also be heard in the likes of Svartidaudi,.
The sound on this album however is again unique to Goat, building on the Von template the production is perfectly muddy and dark, complimented by Wrest's brilliant session drumming. Goat couldn't have picked a better drummer for the job and though it's probably the long absence from metal entirely that helps give this project its freshness, one can't help wondering if he took on board influences from the likes of Leviathan when writing and recording this. For tracks like Voodo Word Jeff is a natural at the simplistic pummeling again reminiscent of the classic Von sound.
Calizo has clearly matured in leaps and bounds as both a vocalist and a guitarist, helped perhaps by his non-metal ventures inbetween like the gothic and somewhat psychedelic sounding Sixx, his vocals are suitably deep and guttural and generally "evil"-sounding but a bit more adventurous and experimental on this and its follow-up. This album is also hardly monotonous in terms of riffs compared to old Von, departing quite a bit from the trance-inducing monotony for some surprisingly catchy riffs such as Spiders and the brilliantly bleak Syringes.
Overall a superb and experimental release, here's hoping 6 years down the line Von Goat continues to work on new material...
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