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I always followed Xasthur's progression and I always liked the music very much. Much more than a simple suicidal black metal outfit, which in fact has evolved a lot. "All Reflections Drained" is the latest offering.
Quite from the begining this album sucks you in Malefic's playground and a parade of all kinds of atrocities emerges! The production is slightly clearer (or at least I think so), yet the typical fog which surrounds Xasthur's sound is still present but a little more elevated and a more clear aspect of the sonic landscape reveals. After all these years, Malefic keeps creating mega-structures of blackness and sorrow, some of them are of great proportions, he did it once again. As you can imagine, the atmosphere in this recording is once again haunting like a post-Lovecraft hallucination to say the least; a surrealistic pilgrimage to the "beyond" and yet another piece of the gutted puzzle Xasthur manipulates.
This new epiphany consists of eight long tracks, eight long and agonizing revelations about all the moods in the shades of grey. More psychedelic and deep, with more orchestral elements as wellas more concrete walls of sound. Equally depressive as we all well know it. The almost complete abscence of any vocals, only a small fragment of words is present, is a key element which adds to the atmosphere very much, leaving the music to narrate and in between, some raw parts pounding only to melt with the ethereal passages later on. Insane riffs, asylum chords, sick and repeative themes, all known ingredients typically found in all Xasthur's material. These eight new serenades create a certain cataclysmic flow of black metal outburst, and with it's power it will eventually be discribed as one of the standards of the post-Burzum era!
The fairytale of Xasthur unfolds from time to time constantly now, album by album and sigle by single and so on. The scene in which these horror elegies taking place is almost the same, and the outcome once again is astonishing. Another chapter of the Malefician holocaust opus just unleashed and I'm more than happy to dig it again and again. I cannot find anything less than extreme suicidal music of the highest quality.
...And the related packaging madness: Being a die-hard junkie when it comes to packaging I greatly appreciated and liked the artwork of this album (enjoyable in the vinyl format mostly) which is simply amazing! In the other hand I was a little disapointed with the tape version, which looks somewhat cheap. It is nice, really, but cosmetically could be better I think. Besides in tape, "All Reflections Drained" is also released in CD and vinyl format, with the vinyl version being just an eye-candy! Housed in a very thick and luxurious gatefold sleeve whith the artwork in all it's glory and available in four versions, normal black vinyl, blood red vinyl, red mist vinyl with exclusive slipmat (which is insanely nice) and the picture disc with exclusive backpatch which is the most limited of the four. Trully, this is visualy one of his most beautiful releases ever.