Shakespeare is the author of the famous statement, uttered by a character (Antonio) in The Tempest, that “what’s past is prologue”. What he and his character meant is that history provides the context for what is about to happen in the present (in The Tempest, it was the opportunity for Antonio and his co-conspirator Sebastian to commit murder). Some might go so far as to assert that what happens in the present is fated to happen because of what has happened in the past.
In the case of the Lithuanian black metal band Sisyphean (themselves named for a legendary character), the past that is most powerfully prologue is their 2020 album Colours of Faith. That’s not to suggest that people should ignore their 2017 debut full-length, but it was Colours of Faith that really opened eyes and established high expectations.
Our own Andy Synn, for example, wrote this (among many other words) about the album:
While the promotional materials which accompany this album draw (not unwarranted) comparisons to the likes of Svartidauði, Deathspell Omega, Blut aus Nord, Mgła, et al, I continue to be impressed – a little more with each and every listen – with how carefully and precisely Sisyphean have managed to thread the needle through the spaces in between these artists.
It’s as if, to mix my metaphors a little, they’ve dug down through all the various layers of history and tradition which make up this particular corner of the Black Metal scene and discovered an (almost) untapped vein of inspiration to drink from, to draw from, and to fuel their creativity.
Even more recently our contributor Axel Stormbreaker made a late discovery of the album and compared it here to the “perception of biblical tidal waves — you know, that overwhelming strain they provoke when crashing one after the other, leaving you speechless in nature-fearing-awe”.
So let’s just say that Colours of Faith is a hell of a prologue for what’s coming from the band now. On the other hand, experience teaches us that, regardless of optimistic expectations, no band is “fated” to duplicate, much less exceed, the successes of a previous work.
What we have to share with you now, on the day of its release, is a new Sisyphean single named “Through Corrosion“. In the release, it is paired with a stirring live recording of one of the last album’s powerful songs, “Hearts of Mercury“.
You may be able to tell from the lyric video (made by Dominykas Kaukėnas) that the subject matter of “Through Corrosion” concerns “the possibility of deepening the understanding of the self using neuroscience”.
The dominant impressions of the music are multi-faceted: The piercing ring of the riffs harnesses unnerving dissonance to treat the listener’s mind like a winding spring, repeatedly twisting and tightening it to the breaking point. Within the disturbing ring of the chords the band do trace melodies, which are themselves disturbing, creating sensations of anguish and fear. The song’s visceral, bone-smashing power also creates a sense of towering might — malignant might — which together with the riffs adds to song’s frightening thrills.
The tension does release, in an eruption of blasting drums, riffing that writhes as well as whirs, and extravagant screams, but it’s not a release that brings any comfort. Instead, the music feels like sanity is being burned.
And still, there’s more, including the rhythmic clang of a solo bass that provides the bridge to the track’s concluding segment, where the band stomp and again send forth tides of severe emotional disturbance.
In a nutshell, past really is prologue here. Based on the band’s last album we had high expectations for whatever they would do next. In our humble opinion, with “Through Corrosion” they have met them.
“Through Corrosion” is being released today through Transcending Obscurity Records. For more info about the release of the single and how to acquire it, check the links below:
Main Store – http://tometal.com
Bandcamp – https://sisypheanband.bandcamp.com/album/through-corrosion
NEW Europe Store – http://eu.tometal.com
US Store – https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/