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The Glory of Black Metal - 99%

devletli, July 25th, 2018

I have been listening to this album for the past months now. Always trying to find an angle to approach, to analyse and review. And always failing, since the album instantly “absorbs” me, commands every bit of my attention, and I ultimately immerse in an hour-long journey into an ever-changing black metal landscape, a state of hypnosis. Yet I review it, or waste my time trying. But actually “Tabernaculum” leaves so small room to words, its self-expression of what it is is hardly comparable. There is not a moment of directionless filling, an out-of-place note, a low-point unworthy of this evident masterpiece. The album crawls under your skin. It just doesn’t let go. And I keep myself uttering, “what are you doing, Mr. Rebirth of Nefast?”

The project is the brainchild of Stephen Lockhart (aka Wann), who (it seems to have) founded the psychedelic, demented, cosmic and (in all its senses) cold Icelandic school of black metal that we all love. As a commended producer, the album is (expectedly) tight as a ship, boasting quite a thick, bass-y guitar sound (with minimal reverb), complemented by keyboards/fx and raunchy and thick vocals befitting the overall sound. Here you hear every pick of the instruments, through a thick and rich wall of sound, as you delve further into the insanity that is Tabernaculum. He is accompanied by another familiar face, Bjarni Einarsson, who plays the shit out of those drums. I have commended before the main man + drummer formula and this is a prime example.

The album takes its time, as evidenced by its hour-long runtime of six tracks. It opens oh so slowly and silently, introduces a repetitive riff, turns even more silent and whispery, only to explode around the five minute mark. What follows is quite indescribable, constantly changing pace and mood, keeping on exploding, evolving, reaching inhuman heights and unimaginable depths. You just can’t help a headbang, a jaw drop, a goosebump or whatever this behemoth of a musical experience commands in that particular moment. It is cosmic, militaristic, cold, cavernous, atmospheric, masterful, experimental, psychedelic, hypnotic, doomy and energetic all at the same time.

Tabernaculum sets the bar too high. 99/100 because of the unrealistic standards it sets and the shadow it casts on future releases. Black metal is glorious.