(Come join Andy Synn as he gazes deep into the oculus abyss, set for release tomorrow)
Ever since I first heard Teitan‘s excellent 2021 EP, Vákuum (which you can read a little more about here), I’ve been looking forward to hearing what they would come up with next.
And while it seems like it’s been a long time coming – even though it’s really not – I can attest that the wait was more than worth it.
To say that the music of Teitan continues to sit on the more unorthodox end of the Black Metal spectrum would not be inaccurate – though it might be something of an understatement, to say the least.
After all, when writing about their previous EP (the record which initially introduced me to their work) I initially compared their sound to the likes of Dodheimsgard and Blut Aus Nord, which should give you some idea of the sort neighbourhood – both in terms of music and quality – they inhabit.
Indeed, on first encountering the malevolent sonic maelstrom of opener “Menstrual Blood and Pomegranate” – five-and-a-half minutes of uncannily-angled riffage, undulating bass, and eerie, anxiety-inducing melodies all underpinned by a series of complex, constantly shifting percussive patterns – you may be inclined to agree with that assessment, as there’s no arguing the fact that – at their most vicious and unsettling – Teitan certainly err closer to the latter’s more recent forays into lurid, Lovecraftian existentialism than the former’s outrageously eclectic experimentation.
But that’s only half the story, and the truth is that while the shadow of both their legendary predecessors looms large, ultimately In Oculus Abyss shares more in common with the likes of Code and Black Hole Generator as the product of an artist who willingly and wilfully chooses to play strange, yet seductive, games with the fundamental formula of Black Metal – adding and subtracting elements and ideas whenever the muse and the moment dictates – to the point where you often find yourselves questioning if the tag really fits the music at all.
And, yet, even if they don’t really fit with the rest of the Black Metal scene what else could you call them? Where else would both the savage, swarming discordance of “Insectoid” and the maddeningly infectious dissonance of “Gang Mahal” both find a home, if not beneath the boughs of the expansive, esoteric family tree of Black Metal? What other style would, or could, embrace the sinister sonic soundscapes which underpin songs such as the brooding “From Under the Floorboard” and the utterly unnerving “Public Masturbation”?
Of course, there will be those who claim that obsessing over definitions and demarcations is a waste of time – the grim grandeur and eerie intensity of a track like “The Die Is Cast” would be the same whatever moniker you did, or didn’t, apply to the music – but the thought-exercise still serves a purpose, in that it gets you thinking about just the sorts of limits and bonds we use to separate and segregate our music genres which in turn helps you appreciate what it means when a band like Teitan is unwilling, or perhaps simply unable, to be confined, or defined, by these boundaries.