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Menstrual Extraction Ceremony - 88%

heavymetaloncampus, February 1st, 2012

Brulvahnatu is the most underrated band I’ve ever had the joy of uncovering. Around a year ago I ordered the first two albums from this artist and I have immensely enjoyed them. The atmosphere accomplished by the petrifying vocals, extensive album art, captivating lyrics, and dynamic song writing draws you in and transports you to a swamp glowing green, where you are the only person on earth. It takes me back to when I was just discovering 70s progressive rock; that was when experiencing an album audibly, visually, and cognitively gave me a glimpse into a carefully crafted other world. So of course, the new album by Brulvahnatu for 2011 was my most anticipated release of the year.

This album, Menstrual Extraction Ceremony, starts off with an assault of sound. And it carries on with little respite for the first three tracks, carving through the album bluntly and crudely, which certainly goes with what I’m guessing is a hysterectomy theme. When we get to the fourth track, “The Gland”, the album becomes more instantly memorable, partially because the track’s beginning has a saxophone. This somewhat unorthodox instrument choice is very effective though, it refocuses the music so that the brutality and beauty of the ensuing riffs are brought to clarity. This track is great, a brilliant example of what makes Brulvahnatu worthwhile. Eighteen minutes long and engaging the entire time, “The Gland” opens up the rest of the album for further scrutiny and visitation. The last track, the title track, concludes Ceremony effectively in the first ten minutes of its half-hour length. The grand themes build and put a fitting climax to the album. But this album has an included aftermath, first there is silence then there is a small choked voice of a guitar that rambles from directionless and wandering to distorted, then forceful, then sated, and so on. It is what is left after the deluge of the Menstrual Extraction Ceremony, the little bit of life clinging on, alone. What upon first listen sounds like completely superficial noodling, ends up contributing to the effect of the album considerably.

This album took some thought for me to engage with it, but it was overall a very rewarding experience. The album art is essential to tapping into the overall aesthetic of this experience; you have probably never seen such sordid shades of pink. The production on Brulvahnatu’s albums was for me the gateway drug of kvlt or nekro production or whatever it’s called. The depth of sound on these recordings makes a lot of other albums sound downright insipid, like a glossy poster in place of a sculpture. And this album continues the great production even though it is ever so slightly tweaked in some of the sounds.

The intention of this album, namely to expose the listener to the lonely and fantastical world of Brulvahnatu, is achieved on this album. Were we being prepared for this Extraction Ceremony during the song “Cleaning Your Womb” from Uterine Acid Swishes? It’s hard to say. But, it can be said that Kib Sreng consistently releases albums of top notch quality that are a profound journey through a different realm. I highly recommend this album and this band to anyone who becomes dissatisfied with the level of musical depth in some metal. The songwriting here isn’t trying to be the most brutal or the darkest or anything, but there’s much more interesting imagery here for which metal music is the perfect medium. The riffs are never over thought; they just go how they’re supposed to, without overscrutinization. Everything falls into a groove here beneath Kib’s guiding hands.

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