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Blistering set of technical BM with surprises - 83%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, September 15th, 2014

Funnily while this Canadian trio is so secretive that its members are unknown, the band also has an entry on Wikipedia despite having released just one EP and one album at this time of review. Never mind - we'll ponder that paradox some other time but just for now, we'll allow the music from the self-titled EP to do their talking for them. "Thantifaxath" is a blistering set of highly technical, melodic black metal with plenty of bleak atmosphere, a raw, frenzied sound and a few surprises that suggest there's a lot more to these guys than at first hits your ears.

The album really begins with track 2, "Violently Expanding Nothing", which establishes the band's hell-4-leather style of rapid-fire drumming, delirious guitar-shredding and ragged raw vocals. Occasional moments of atonal guitar chord quietude reminiscent of Deathspell Omega suggest there is another musical dimension, perhaps jazz-influenced, accessible to the musicians if they choose it and they are not just another bunch of noisy black metal shredders with no depth. Sure enough the next track that follows is as different from "Violently ..." as can be - it includes a mix of frantic BM melody and passages of atmospheric clean-toned droning doom guitar. While not a particularly long song at 4 minutes, "Freedom is Depression" packs in enough riffs, melodies and desolate blasted-heath atmosphere to string out into several songs. Lead guitar solos are dizzying in their speed and fretwork.

My only gripe is that the drumming on this EP is very featherweight light for this style of music though it doesn't lack for energy and aggression. The weight of expectations is thrown onto the guitars and the bass which fortunately are more than equal to the task with detours into near-experimental dissonance that brings the band close to Jute Gyte microtonal territory. Sections of music in which the bass guitar dominates sound almost like DSO rip-off material but I'm confident that this is not intentional. One very outstanding aspect of Thantifaxath's music is how seamlessly the band incorporates extended passages of intensely moody soundscape desolation, in which all you hear is long melancholy guitar drone tone, into their otherwise breathless runaway music shredding machine.

There is a psychedelic undertone to the band's music and if Thantifaxath were to explore this aspect of their music further, they might open up a bridge between the technical, jazzy, melodic side of BM and the more psychedelic yet still dark BM of acts like Oranssi Pazuzu and Rhinocervs. The dark soundscape art of Njiqahdda seems to beckon also. I foresee that in years to come, this band might become very significant in the BM underground.

Thantifaxath self-titled - 79%

broomybroomybroomy, October 20th, 2012

Thantifaxath is one of those bands you stumble upon by accident. They're so esoteric that I think only the most elite fans of black metal will discover them, and I think that's what they intended. At least one good metal group comes every country, but Thantifaxath comes from Canada. Although not a capital of metal like Scandinavia, they have a handful of good bands like Cryptopsy or Kataklysm.

This band has their own sound that is loosely-wound, dissonant, and powerful. The guitar varies between playing single reverberating notes and frantically playing atonal chords. The different guitar sections usually have a brief rest between them and then abruptly play again, which create a sensation of falling into a deep pit of nothingness. The vocals are harshly shrieked, and sound more angry than disconsolate. The drums are somewhat drowned out; they're just in the back seat-- along for the ride. Blast beats are seldom used, with the percussion as start-and-stop as the strings. The bass is very prominent, and even has its own short melodic part in the beginning of Violently Expanding Nothing, which I believe to be the strongest track on the album-- it even includes somewhat of a guitar solo near the end.

This EP only has four tracks and runs for a little under 16 minutes, but it is all carefully crafted and no "filler" tracks exist to pad the length (excluding the intro, but then again, black metal always needs a dark ambient intro). Although I don't necessarily feel like they're "breaking new ground," I believe that they have their own unique sound that distinguishes them from carbon copy second wave bands and post-black metal hipster bands that have recently plagued the scene of black metal. Maybe they get a little tedious at times, but never annoying. They could use a little more. After listening to this, I have high hopes for their debut full-length.