Apr 112023

Thanatomass are returning with a new record, and anyone who’s heard their previous material will know what that means: The gates of Hell are about to be blasted open again, and we’re about to be thrown inside.

Imagining what Hell must be like has been a constant theme of heavy metal bands since early days, but the new music of Thanatomass is so deliriously violent and berserk, and so steeped in an atmosphere of the hideously supernatural, that you might begin to get the chilling suspicion that these Russian black metal deviants have really been there.

And thus it’s no surprise that Thanatomass named their debut album Hades, and who could ask for a more gob-smacking visual to accompany it than what Dávid Glomba has rendered for the album cover and the interior artwork. Maybe he’s been there too?

photo by Darksun

What we have for you today, to prove that the words above aren’t exaggerations, is the premiere of a song called “Sorcery of Hades“, accompanied by an eye-popping visualizer. You might not expect a piece of hellish black metal to go on for more than 9 minutes, but that’s what we have here (and it’s not even the longest song on Hades). But it’s that long because the song does more than just scorch flesh to the melting point — though it does do that, in spades.

Introduced by the most crazed of howls, the riffing creates a cauldron of dense, senses-slaughtering sound while the drums freakishly pummel and clatter. Those howling and screaming vocals sound like someone possessed by a demon that’s been broiled to the point of insanity, and through that horrid vortex the guitars skitter, scream, and convulse with abandon, and the bass warbles and warps, adding to the feeling of delirium.

But the song is an experience of many twists and turns. The bass bubbles; the drums skip, scamper, and tumble; chords go off like brazen blasts and spin like a vortex of fire. The music whips and lashes at varying speeds. And yes, as the song name signifies, the music does also sound like sorcery, not just because the instrumental execution of all the bizarre permutations is so impressive, but also because there are times when the music becomes weirdly seductive, as if there’s something psychoactive in the brimstone fumes the music conjures.

So let’s be clear: This music is a whole lot more than flamethrowing demons running rampant. It’s complex, intricate, ever-changing, and the kind of thing that’s an ingenious headspinner — to the point of being paradoxically mesmerizing — in addition to being the wildest kind of musical riot.

That isn’t the only denizen of Hades that’s now out in the world. Another track, named “Gravedance Sabbath“, has already been rampaging through eardrums and mauling minds for a month. It’s much shorter — only about 2 1/2 minutes — but somehow it manages to be just as diabolically twisted and dazzling, though maybe more likely to spawn visions of a hellish orgy in progress, one that begins with rutting and ends in blood-spray.

In addition to these two songs, Hades includes five more tracks of dramatically varying lengths, including an intro piece, and it all adds up to more than 43 minutes of eldritch sonic hellfire and brimstone.

Hades will be released on May 12th by Living Temple Records, on CD, cassette tape, and digital formats.


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