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Tiny magic arms - 90%

gasmask_colostomy, September 13th, 2017

Tyrannosorceress. Tyrannosorceress. Let’s do it one more time. Tyrannosorceress. That’s a name you’re probably going to remember, since it’s made from the combination of Tyrannosaurus and sorceress, which are just about the coolest two words in English that could have been combined to make a band name. That the label, too, is named Tofu Carnage Records sets up this release for great (and strange) expectations. Granted, the outfit don’t sound exactly as that name might lead you to believe, but once you know that the opening song on Shattering Light’s Creation kicks off with a riff that – for all intents and purposes – is a black metal version of Scorpions’ 'Steamrock Fever', you’ll probably be enticed to explore the rest of the album.
It seems as if any references to the German classic rockers are entirely accidental though, because Tyrannosorceress (it feels so good to say that name) are a more or less black metal band from Texas; however, this statement achieves the opposite effect and makes them seem much less interesting than they really are. First of all, throw away all associations you may have with necro black metal, since you won’t be needing them here. Then, inflate the sense of scope and moonlit wonder of the music, avoiding symphonic black metal, particularly anything as unsubtle as Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth. Next, remember that Texas is not a location often described as "icy", so factor that in too. Finally, have a quick think about post-metal and add a few chunks of that to the picture you’re forming. What have you got? A headache? No, not at all; that’s Tyrannosorceress expanding your mind.

Perhaps it’s not fair to saddle the five-piece with those kind of expectations, but for all the exterior sparkle, Shattering Light’s Creation is still an album that will take the listener on a journey, literally so since the six songs form part of one continually flowing piece that transforms the 45 minute experience into more than just listening to a CD. The sound, without resorting to keyboards, is cavernously large owing to the heavy delay on the guitars, while the drums clatter mightily yet never fully smash through the sheen of wondrous magnitude that hangs over everything. The vocals, likewise, are not too visceral, growling obliquely in a similarly deep but sonorous tone to the bass, which accompanies them through the latter part of 'The Call to Chaos' in captivating slow motion. The ability of the band to remain equally compelling at fast and slow moments as well as through clean and heavy sections is testament to their songwriting prowess, perhaps developed from the time the bandmembers (excepting the guitarists) have spent playing death metal together in Cleric.
The clarity of the sound on Shattering Light’s Creation is just one reason why the album works so well, seeing as the contributions of all bandmembers can be easily appreciated. The riffing is reminiscent of some of the more instinctive bands among Norway’s old guard: Immortal and Darkthrone fans have tapped feet and banged heads to the more physical of their gods’ thrash and death scented guitar parts, while the faster black metal parts sacrifice no heaviness for dragging with them cruel barbs of amelodic fills. These unusual scales also feature in the calmer passages, keeping tension at a peak during the hills and valleys of heavyweight closer 'Senescent and Supreme'. However, the uncommon way in which they are inserted into more traditional fast blasting and slow rolling riffs means that the mood of that long song rarely stays static, minor changes being made in timing and execution between the seven and eight minute mark that require intense scrutiny to follow. The manner in which this slow section then morphs into the doomy foreboding and contrasting epic lead of the ending is a majesty that will grip the listener from the first time onwards.
As if the presence of such a grandiose closer were not enough, Tyrannosorceress (still feels good to say) do not skimp on memorable features, allowing 'In the Light of the Sabbat Moon' to build through haunting post-rock beauty, gilding 'The Call of Chaos' with an unspeakably electric effect-laden solo (another glorious slow moment), and shoving the title track into the limelight by virtue of its brevity and eruption of extreme riffing. Despite the freedom of their capacious structures, none of the songs ever feel like hard work to enjoy, since the amount of light and shade is well-judged, particularly as the slower parts are the most creative. In a way, the songs with more distinct black metal elements are slightly disappointing though not due to poor quality, more the fact that Shattering Light’s Creation is unique in other areas. Following this reasoning, the two longest songs are surprisingly the best, while 'The Angles Nine' and 'Haunting Black Infinity' suffer from less memorability, yet greater raw power.
Although it’s rather a shame that we didn’t get to see the dinosaur-cum-witch on the front cover (a scary lady with a magic wand and tiny, tiny arms would have been amusing), Shattering Light’s Creation is a surprising and rewarding debut album that demands attention and respect. With nods towards the past as well as to the here and now, Tyrannosorceress have conjured a beast of a record. Oh, and their name still sounds fucking awesome.

Originally written for The Metal Observer. Available at