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A little music helps the noise go down - 65%

we hope you die, October 11th, 2021

One could be forgiven for writing off Ctenizidae’s latest demo as another woefully obscure, lo-fi black metal cassette. Released earlier this year and now picked up by the label Nebular Carcoma for a vinyl release, the assumption seems to be that the captive market of small but dedicated purists will lap it up, as they do any tape of static packaged in black and white photocopied cover art.

BUUUUT, there’s actually a bit more to this demo/EP than blunt cynicism. Beneath the veneer of laziness, Ctenizidae have some real ideas going on. It’s as if they have taken some of the more expansive and well produced leanings of modern extreme metal and condensed them into a vacuum pack of under produced black metal.

The rhythms, although basic as fuck, are tight, and the drums are audible. There are riffs here, trading on intelligent but sparing use of dissonance to craft an unearthly vibe lurking beneath the static. Keyboards provide a welcome addition to the textures on offer, and although veering little from single prolonged notes, this only serves to add a degree of single-minded malevolence to the whole thing.

The vocals are perhaps the most generic aspect to ‘…Of Rotting Soil and Spine’, offering little more than distance screeches with little variation in intensity. Aside from offering an additional layer of abrasion, they bring little to the overall soundscapes of this EP.

Ctenizidae have taken the single-minded desire to reject any notion of musical pleasantry that defined projects like Mutiilation and Paysage d’Hiver, filtered it through the blunt aggression of ‘Battles in the North’, added touches of dissonance, and painted this framework with the alienating discomfort of an industrial aesthetic. For that reason it may also bear comparison to Black Funeral in its almost audacious minimalism.

Some tracks have more purpose than others. The EP is frontloaded with driving riffs that seek to lead us from point A to point B in spite of their simple components. And it’s these hints of musical narrative that really carry this EP, and serve to justify its more abrasive tendencies. Ctenizidae are able to convince us they have a purpose beyond simplistic will-to-obscurity. Therefore, when the experimental noise track ‘Thickening of the Abyss’ kicks in to close the EP, we are already primed, and take the hit of dry rhythms, static, and piercing feedback in its proper context. It only goes to show that extremity is meaningless without contrast, a little musical medicine helps the noise go down.

Originally published at Hate Meditations