We’re calling this a premiere, but that’s not strictly true. It’s more like a wake-up call to people who might have missed the album we’re streaming below, and an alert to both old and new fans that the record is being released today on CD for the first time by ATMF.
The album in question is Entropic Increase From The Omega Aeon, the second full-length by the formidable Chilean black metal band Xul ov Kvlten, which was first released as a digital download this past January. As one of the late-comers to the album, but now having become immersed in it, I am not a bit surprised that ATMF picked it up for a physical release.
The songs, which have been produced with power and clarity and an evenness in the mix, are elaborate, moving through an ever-changing array of sounds and sensations, digressing and re-uniting behind dramatic melodies, gripping riffs, and strong rhythms. The music soars in great, sweeping conflagrations of sound, lashes and whirls in episodes of breathtaking tumult, and dives into slow, staggering, soul-shattering movements that are saturated in moods of terror, desolation, and the fracturing of sanity.
An infernally sinister atmosphere seems to blanket the music across all of its changing courses. As the music builds tension, erupts in paroxysms of violence, expands to provide musical vistas of terrible grandeur, and descends into sepulchral gloom, a sense of preternatural malice looms over it all. One of the most beguiling passages on the album comes in the swinging, almost joyful late-stage movement of “Quintessence”, and even there, a feeling of black magic animates the sound.
The opening track, “Ascend Pathos Signis Dómini”, is a faithful forecast of what the album holds in store. Piercing riffs that gleam and sear envelop the listener in waves of dramatic sound, accompanied by rampant percussive blasting and tumbling, and by a thundering bass. The vocals are scorching, as they are throughout the album, but present a range of expressions even though they’re almost always incendiary (elsewhere on the album, horrifying guttural roars can also be heard).
The music is melodious and majestic, but also cruel and haunting. When the torrential pace subsides, the bass becomes a more prominent presence, and the rippling guitar melody becomes the sound of misery and grief, as the vocalist wails in agony. And then the music begins to boil again in a mixture of pain and delirium. The riffing begins to pulse in a frenzy over a head-moving drum rhythm, fueling the music’s energy until it spills over in an amalgam of dementia and chaos.
Like the ravishing opening track, all the others display similar dynamism in moods and momentum, featuring judicious use of symphonic layers, abundant variety in tempos and drum rhythms, riffing that burns and freezes, consistently harrowing vocals, and esoteric atmospheres. And regardless of the pacing and mood, the music is dependably intense throughout.
So, if this is your first exposure to the album, you’re in for a rewarding discovery. And if you already know how good it is, you now have the chance to obtain a physical edition (which features striking cover art by Nox Fragor.
XUL OV KVLTEN: