AN NCS ALBUM PREMIERE (AND A REVIEW): ZİFİR — “DEMONIAC ETHICS”
Rage and disgust fuel the music on Zifir‘s new album Demoniac Ethics, most of it directed at the calculated lies of religious institutions and the submissive delusions of their followers. Of course, within the realms of extreme metal such inspirations aren’t unique to this Turkish black metal trio. But how they have translated their intense convictions into sound is very much out of the ordinary, as you shall witness for yourselves.
Today we present a full stream of this new album, just days before its release by Duplicate Records, preceded by further impressions of the remarkable music.
As you might expect from the preceding words, Zifir are capable of discharging ferocious sonic assaults composed of pummeling percussion, roiling and ravaging riffs, and acid-bathed vocal tirades. However, though they are quite capable of racing and ripping, they don’t do it that often, and that’s not the music’s true strength — not what makes the songs so gripping and disconcerting. Demoniac Ethics is more like a thrilling but frightening seduction, or a spell, than an assault.
Rather than full-throttle mayhem, what seizes the listener’s attention and holds it in a vice-like grip are instead the unnerving atmospheric qualities of the riffing, the persistent permutations in tempo and rhythm, and the equally dynamic changes in mood — though almost all the moods are dark and deleterious.
There is often an eerie, supernatural quality to the riffs, which make use of dissonance and minor-key melody in ways that send chills down the spine. The sounds can be poisonous and disturbing, but also ominously magisterial, especially when solemn choral vocals rise up, replacing (and sometimes alternating with) the crackling, demonic shrieks (“Still Reigning” is a prime example of the latter.
While the music has an overarching atmosphere of unearthly strangeness and peril, it sinks into depths of misery and despair and becomes shattering in its hopelessness. Feverish leads also create feelings of catastrophe in the midst of doom-drenched funereal marches, and waves of tyrannical imperiousness also course through the melodies, creating moods of tension and fear. But the music also becomes mesmerizing and almost gloriously triumphant in “Spirit of Goats”, and the band give you a fine opportunity to rock out with the carnal penultimate track “Ephemeral Idols”.
A complete run through the album creates an immersive effect, pulling the listener ever deeper into chilling occult blackness. Even the peculiarly fantastical interlude of “An Eerie Moment”, which brings to mind the muttering and gibbering of a lunatic in an asylum, is only a momentary diversion from the descent. The even-ness of the mix allows the bass a co-equal and fascinating role in these strange movements, and even its moody tones are strange in their maneuverings and hypnotic in their effect.
In fact, all the interlocking parts of the music are identifiable, ingeniously inventive, and often unpredictable. One might be tempted to pull out adjectives like “progressive” or “avant-garde” to capture all these sensations. The songs have the sound of meticulously composed and carefully crafted music, with everything designed to envelop and transport your mind into a dreamlike or hallucinatory, state.
Becoming immersed in the album as a whole isn’t difficult. In fact, it’s pretty irresistible. Zifir do a great job giving each song its own fascinations, and creating so much change within and among them that losing interest is a vanishingly small possibility.
Demoniac Ethics will be released by Duplicate Records on January 24th. The fantastic cover art was created by Vergvoktre. Pre-orders are available now.
Onur Önok : Vocals & Guitars
Nursuz : Drums
Ilgar : Bass