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Emotionally complex raw atmospheric BM work - 80%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, October 7th, 2017

Kaffaljidhma is a new act trafficking in very raw atmospheric instrumental black metal though its sole member Olibanum aka TJ is active in other solo (Ancient Morass) and group projects in black metal or black metal / noise combinations. As far as I know, all K's legitimate releases are on cassette including this debut work which consists of just one track, "Unruffled are the Astral Feathers of the Peafowl Demiurge". The white-on-black artwork is beautiful in its own stark and wistfully melancholy way, and you might think the recording would be equally sad and sorrowing. You'd be right of course but the music turns out to be far, far more than just melancholy and pensive: it's also at once energetic and powerful, angry and furious, tormented and desolate. At the risk of sounding redundant, this is an emotionally complex piece that far outspans its 13-minute running time.

The track starts off as dark Goth-ambient in its cavernous ghost-voices atmosphere, tribal in its thumping drum rhythm and noisy industrial in its frying guitar textures and gas-pipe ambience field recording. Elements of trilling guitar post-BM are present and the percussion as it develops becomes very snappy, crisp and insanely hypnotic. This is all within the first three minutes of the recording! A running background layer of screaming voices is present as well. The whole layered combination, odd as it is, continues more or less as is with various layers taking turns in coming to the forefront and dominating the music before receding back into the blurry mix while another layer of music becomes prominent. Yet the whole work seems very focused as it careens towards its inevitable dark void.

Depending on your mood at the time, the track can be unbearably sad and regretful, looking back at lost opportunities and potential; or it can be a rage at the unfairness of life and the implacable indifference of the universe to human suffering. It can also be an expression of pain, anguish and despair at darkness both internal and external. It can be anything that suits the listener's feelings and for that reason can be played at any time of day or night. There is an expansive aspect in the track as well - I can't quite put my finger on where this is coming from but the urgent drumming, the trilling raw noise guitar and the distant howling add a load of depth to the work.

This is one of those recordings where I wish the music had been longer, much longer, if only to see how far deep into the cosmos it goes and to stay lost there forever.