Kvelgeyst - Alkahest

12 Jun 2019 - Thorsten

Black-Metal | Vendetta Records | Release date: 12 Jun 2019

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Another project by highly productive Swiss Black-Metal collective Helvetic Underground Committee, Kvelgeyst focuses on a very early phase of Black Metal musically. We hear straightforward old-school-black-metal much in the vein of Bathory and less in the Celtic Frost-sense.

Even though the collective proclaims to not let themselves be influenced too much by other bands. Kvelgeyst also functions like a bridge between the various worlds of the HUC, as the music is classic Black Metal (which one might also hear slightly on Death.Void.Terror) and yet incorporates a lot of the highly atmospheric elements of more modern, near Black-gazey bands which one could identify with Dakhma whose Persian-inspired Black Metal is not the regular stuff you get. “Demiurg – Denaturierung Holobiont” can be seen as a perfect example for that: A classic, near-thrash metal like intro is followed by an ever-ascending and spiraling second guitar line and both culminate in fast-paced riffs that drive the song with vocals as harsh as they are despaired. After roughly 4:50 minutes the song suddenly quietens down and makes way for a very moody, scream-filled horror soundscape with an ambient structure underneath some near-ecclesiatic chants and only a few guitar dots painted on the chants before it turns into a Bebop-kinda guitar-lick right before the storm is set loose again.

Interesting is also the “setting” of the record (something characteristic for HUC bands) – it also has its own background as the artwork and choice of words is very early modern times (see interview below). Here the track mentioned above can be seen as just one example: “A holobiont is an assemblage of a host and the many other species living in or around it” and “the Demiurg (‘demiurge’) is a figure responsible for fashioning and maintaining the physical universe.” Although both words might be seen as having the same idea (both talking about the center of a living environment), “Demiurg” is a word that in German is more likely to be connected with the very Latin-influenced German of the 16th or 17th century whereas “Holobiont” is a rather modern term (invented in that sense in the 1980s). The term “Denaturierung” means “de-naturalisation” aka the process of turning something from a natural into an unnatural state symbolizing the process of a God-like figure into a rather scientific idea – a very Renaissance kind of process, I would say, with science and reason taking over from belief and metaphors.

It becomes clear that Kvelgeyst in some ways is a prototypical HUC-release and in some ways it’s not. It definitely is something you can listen to over and over again, giving you lots of things to think about and lots of little musical details to discover.