I keep saying how 2014 is shaping up to be one of the great years in metal’s history, and I keep using the highest-profile examples to make this point: Behemoth, Agalloch, Triptykon, Thou … and on their heels, new albums from bands like At The Gates, Pallbearer, Tombs, Eyehategod, Leviathan, Opeth, Mastodon, and Godflesh. And while that is indeed a mighty impressive docket, it’s not really why 2014 has been so great so far. No, 2014 has been an overwhelming year for metal almost primarily because of the incredible number of bands on the fringes (or nearer to the fringes than the above-mentioned bands) whose new albums feel like future classics: Morbus Chron’s Sweven, Woods Of Desolation’s As The Stars, Pyrrhon’s The Mother Of Virtues, Artifical Brain’s Labyrinth Constellation, Fluisteraars’ Dromers, Black Monolith’s Passengers, Ifing’s Against This Weald, Coffinworm’s IV.I.VIII… And there’s no question Sacred White Noise, the debut LP from Toronto’s Thantifaxath, belongs in that group, too. Thantifaxath are three anonymous weirdoes in grim robes who play technically ambitious, intensely heavy, oddly melodic atmospheric black metal. An obvious reference point here is Krallice, who pull off a similar trick, but Thantifaxath’s songs aren’t quite as dense as those of their neighbors to the south. Also, the robes make everything so much freakier. Bands that play music this complicated don’t wear robes! They can’t! All the loose-hanging cloth around the wrists would get in the way of their fretwork! Not so, say the unnamed members of Thantifaxath, who play out on rare occasion (including a four-date mid-May tour with the similarly minded Castevet). Another kindred spirit is France’s totally non-corporeal Deathspell Omega, who never play live at all. That’s pretty rarified company to keep, I think, but with Sacred White Noise, Thantifaxath have earned such distinctions. We’re streaming Sacred White Noise in full, right now, for you to listen to in advance of its release. Check it out; tell me I’m wrong.
Doug Moore wrote up Thantifaxath in last month’s Black Market, and not surprisingly, he did a far greater job than I in capturing the band’s awesomeness, so I’m republishing his writeup here, too. Says Doug:
The foremost challenge that comes with being a technically demanding metal band is, of course, playing the material right. Using those fancy chops for desirable ends is a close second, though — many an overeducated group of metal musicians have chased the shred dragon up their own asses. Not Thantifaxath. This anonymous trio has skills to spare and the brains to deploy them effectively. Like the great Jute Gyte album we covered last month, Sacred White Noise starts with a collection of black metal tropes — tremolo picking, shrieked vocals, repetitive structures, etc. — and perverts them into a claustrophobic clusterfuck of ugly chords and weird timings. But where Jute Gyte play to fuzzy, introverted one-man BM type, Thantifaxath use a seamless production to blow the nightmare up to arena-prog proportions. It’s an intensely atmospheric listen, and somehow it’s catchy? How do people do that? I’d ask, but the Dementor cloaks suggest that Thantifaxath don’t do interviews. Combine with drugs and the dark, visually striking film of your choice for a psyche-rattling good time.
Sacred White Noise is out 4/15 via Dark Descent Records.