Apr 132023

I didn’t agree to do any premieres today. I thought I would be in Texas for events related to my day job (I know you’ll mentally insert an F word before “day job” and maybe before “Texas”, so I didn’t bother). But as things turned out I didn’t make the trip, though I do have to make appearances by Zoom (insert another F word). Today’s appearance isn’t until mid-day here, so I used the free time to whip up a roundup.

Tomorrow’s Zoom thing from Texas will start much earlier and last much longer, and for some reason I did agree to a premiere, so no Friday roundup. My crystal ball cracks a lot, but at this point when I look into it I see enough free space in my life to do the usual Saturday SEEN AND HEARD. Even after today there will still be a ton of things to catch up with.


The boundary-pushing Sacred White Noise (reviewed here) really rang my chimes (as it did a lot of other listeners), and seeing Thantifaxath perform live cemented my own fandom. Their follow-up EP Void Masquerading as Matter (which I reviewed here) pushed the envelope even further.

I certainly didn’t expect we’d then have to wait six years for something new from this Toronto group. At least what they’ve done in the interim is a new full-length to make up for the lost time. It has a good and timely title: Hive Mind Narcosis. Continue reading »

Nov 152017


Even if you think you have nothing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving, you will on the day after that, because on that day Dark Descent will release the new EP by Thantifaxath, Void Masquerading As Matter. The odds are it’s like nothing you’ve ever heard, unless you’ve heard Sacred White Noise, and even then, this one pushes the envelope even further.

These songs are the children of Dionysus and Hermes, of Ares and Hades, of the Maniae and of Apollo. You could pick a different pantheon, but this is the one that sprang to my mind, because the music is orgiastic and ecstatic, mysterious and arcane, warlike and tortured, grand and funereal, and above all insanely creative — and simply insane. Thoughts of The Wild Hunt and George Gershwin sprang to mind, too.

It might be possible to parse these songs into their manifold musical ingredients, to map them in a blueprint, which no doubt would look labyrinthine, but I lack the musical knowledge and the word-smithing capability to do that adequately. And so, mainly, my thoughts are about the sensations of this sensational music. Continue reading »

Jul 282017


Colorado-based Dark Descent Records must be very, very happy with 2017. (I’m talking about their slate of music releases, of course, because many other things about the year suck harder than a shop vac.) Here we are just past the halfway point, and Dark Descent has already served up new albums by the likes of Heresiarch, Undergang, Father Befouled, Bestia Arcana, Ascended Dead, Phrenelith, Ensnared, GorephiliaCraven Idol, Lantern, Excommunion, Sarcasm, and Diabolical Messiah, and a new EP by Devouring Star (and I might have overlooked something).

But with more than five months left in the year, the label has a lot more nastiness up its sleeve, and today we’re getting a big taste of what’s to come. Today Dark Descent has released via Bandcamp and YouTube a new sampler that consists of a whopping 11 track premieres all at once, and they all happen to be from releases we’ve been very eager to hear, or that come as very intriguing surprises. Many appear headed our way before year-end; some may not arrive until 2018.

Below you’ll find some info about those 11 offerings, plus impressions of the music (aided by a bit of a sneak peak we got in advance), and of course streams of each song. To begin, here’s the track list: Continue reading »

Apr 082014

(Austin Weber reviews the forthcoming debut album by Toronto’s Thantifaxath.)

In the last few years, the black metal scene has taken an even darker turn, with many new acts expanding upon the influence of Deathspell Omega and others who have been turning black metal upside down and reinventing the evil within it. This is where the (literally) cloaked-in-anonymity Canadian group Thantifaxath come in. They reside somewhere within the frenzied straightforward past of the genre, while joining this new class of frightening dissonant acts, whose main goal is to make your ears recoil in uncomfortable revulsion.

Thantifaxath are focused on making your skin crawl and confusing your ears. The focus of this record is not on steamrolling you with aggression, but abducting and torturing you, utilizing bizarre methods and engulfing you in a sense of creepy unease. They leave you alone in the fathomless shadows of their music to cringe, become crippled by, and subsequently caught in its ceaseless sickness. Their memorable draw lies in their eerie riffing submerged in darkness and pain, memorable riffs that stick surprisingly easily in the brain like an inviting descent into hell. Continue reading »

Mar 052014

I’m headed for the airport again this morning, and then winging my way back to sunny Southern California for my day job, returning to sodden Seattle on Sunday. This will again restrict my blog time. Before leaving, I wanted to share a few recent discoveries.


This Toronto band, whose three members prefer to remain anonymous, released a self-titled EP in 2011, and now they have a debut full-length on the way. Entitled Sacred White Noise, it’s coming out on April 15th via Dark Descent. Not long ago the band premiered an advance track named “The Bright White Nothing At the End of the Tunnel”.  I’ve been meaning to check it out, and finally did so last night — and I’m in love.

There’s a writhing, dissonant guitar lead that begins almost immediately and then intermittently continues to whip and squirm its way throughout the rest of the song, and once heard it’s hard to forget. But that’s only part of the music’s attraction. The song also includes hammering percussion, scalding riffs, bestial black metal vocals, and a load of other strange but magnetic repeating motifs. Continue reading »