A long and winding road lies behind the song we’re about to premiere, the name of which is “A Blaze In the Aeon Sky“. It’s the first single from a forthcoming five-track EP entitled Apocalypse Horizon by DZSTRKRFT (pronounced “Disaster Craft”, for those willing to buy some vowels).
DZSTRKRFT is the solo project of Los Angeles-based musician roycifer, and he’s joined on this song by vocalist Jason Spawn. Both of them were at one time bandmates in the symphonic black metal band Sanctus, whose debut album Aeon Sky was released 18 years ago by Metal Blade. DZSTRKRFT was hatched much more recently — only four years ago — but its first releases didn’t conform to the original concept for the band. It was conceived as a black metal project, but until now the music has been electronic and experimental, more inspired by acts like Godflesh and Scorn, mixed with the influence of electronic artists such as Atari Teenage Riot and Daedelus.
But with Apocalypse Horizon, the project is now turning more toward the original idea. Traumatized by the 2016 elections results, roycifer and Spawn were propelled by that anguish to pay homage to the spirit of the black metal elite — such bands as Emperor, Satyricon, Immortal, and Ulver. But as you’ll discover, the word “spirit” is important, because “A Blaze in the Aeon Sky” isn’t a clone of the music of any of those bands.
The song is abrasive yet hypnotic, unsettling but alluring. The pneumatic drum blasts (punctured by booms) provide a potent drive; the distorted chords have a raw, grimy feel; the soaring, sweeping ambient waves create a contrast, something like the wordless tones of an unearthly choir. The vocals are raw and raking as well, not the typical black metal rasp but more in line with Tom G. Warrior in To Mega Therion mode. The music gets its hooks in the head, but there’s an edge of incipient derangement on the knife blade of this track.
The lyrics are mysterious and provocative, presented in an unusual lyric video in which the words seem to tumble and vibrate around each other, which may be what happens to your eyeballs as you try to follow the verses. It might rob the lyrics of some of their mystery to reveal that they were woven from the song titles of that 2000 debut album by Sanctus, but that’s how they were made, which will become obvious if you look at the album’s track list. So in a way, that long and winding road has looped back on itself.
We don’t yet have a release date for the Apocalypse Horizon EP, but you’ll find out if you keep an eye on these DZSTRKRFT spaces: