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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.