Ptahil’s new album The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair is a withering sonic assault on the conventions and constraints of tight-ass whitebread existence. It’s raw like a bleeding laceration, caked with grime, and loaded with grit in every crevice, like a battle tank that’s crossed a hundred battlefields. Dripping with venom and fueled by satanic contempt, it unleashes a destructive storm of hellfire that will leave your head smoking — and banging.
Ptahil don’t go in for subtleties or nuance. Their brand of hot black metal is primal and feral, and they roll like a corroded and corrosive steamroller. The utterly filthy production coats the guitars and bass with a massive static charge, and the muffled drums resemble the thumping beat of a behemoth’s heart heard through the density of flesh and bone.
The music exerts a primal appeal, too. Whether they’re galloping and thrashing like an enraged hell horse, rocking out like punks from the netherworld, or lumbering in a heavy-booted doom stomp, Ptahil have created songs that are powerfully infectious. They’re also powerfully infernal, in the most literal sense of the word.
The Ptahil duo of D. Luathca (guitar, bass, vox) and J. Mhághnuís (battery) reportedly treat the creation and performance of their music as a ritual, invoking Satan as the vehicle through which freedom may be sought from the prison of life. That dedication is revealed in the lyrics, but it’s also reflected in the atmosphere radiated by the music, and a big part of the hellish atmospherics can be traced directly to the vocals.
D. Luathca not only knows how to write murderous riffs, he sounds like someone genuinely possessed by a demon horde. His vocals are alternately croaking, gargling, gravel-pitted, and howling. He moves from vomit-filled gutturals to paint-scraping yells to otherworldly chants, and he utters all of his vitriolic proclamations with complete conviction.
Often, the vocals are multi-tracked and layered to produce the sense that a throng of archfiends is clambering at the mic. And perhaps most disturbing of all are the moments when it sounds like something monstrous is reciting a black liturgy backwards in subterranean catacombs. You listen to this festering vocal feast and you can almost smell the oil from the torches burning underground and the coppery aroma of pentagrams drawn in blood.
You may wonder how music so ugly, so corrosive, and so scowling with contempt at human life on earth could at the same time be so magnetically attractive. But I’m telling you, it really is. I got a high-voltage charge out of every song, from the masterful 13-minute title track to the short, blasting, thrashing rampage that ends the album (“Hell Spells and Satanic Rituals”). If you’re after music that will grab hold of your reptile brain in a vice-like grip and shake it hard, this album’s for you.
Fans can order The Almighty Propagator on CD at this location. You get one guess about the price. It’s also available for download at Bandcamp via this link. Like and follow Ptahil on Facebook here. This is the music; prepare to get wrecked: