26 May 2023 - Martin
Avantgarde | Black Metal | Dark Descent Records | Release date: 02 Jun 2023 | Favorite song: Mind of the Sun
Hyper-individualism, constant life-hacking, filter bubbles and echo chambers. Despite having a wealth of knowledge at our hands like never before, we narrow our perceived reality more and more at the same time. Humanity is living in the age of information overload, of self-induced Hive Mind Narcosis. This takes its toll. The entity called Thantifaxath provides us with the soundtrack to these psychotic and dangerous times. A black vortex opens up in front of us and a wicked sound emerges from its depths…
Overwhelmed by the fast paced digital world of today, feelings of uncertainty and insecurity have risen to new heights on a individual and societal level across the world. As a reaction to this, people understandably seek for more ”straightforward” ways to understand the world we live in. They are also more keen to attach themselves to seemingly clearly defined peergroups, to get a sense of belonging to something. Religions, fantasy, political polarization, alternative belief systems…there is a new surge of ”trying to understand”, to get a foothold in this world and to be in control, accompanied with all its possible inclinations and repercussions, positive and negative. Life is easier, when everything is just black and white. To be part of a hive, sharing the same opinions, filtering out reality, anesthetizing perception. Hallelujah! But history shows, where this leads us to…
Speaking of alternative belief systems, from the perspective of occult magic you could think that humanity is already situated in one of the tunnels of Set (pathways between the ten realms of hell), the qliphotic reverse of the kabbalistic Tree of Life. Because here presides Thantifaxath, the ”Great Ghoul”, and indeed this entity has found a way to materialize itself again in our reality, with an sonical offering called Hive Mind Narcosis, being released through Dark Descent Records at the 2nd of June.
In the six years since its last recording, the Void Masquerading as Matter EP, and almost nine years since the full-length debut, the revered modern underground classic Sacred White Noise, the three-headed Thantifaxath has silently observed humanity´s downward trajectory and honed the craft of its preferred way of communciation at the same time: Avantgarde Black Metal. It is still indistinguishably Thantifaxath, but more expansive and genre -wise even harder to grasp than before. The new record is filled with fluid tempo changes, psychedelic discordance and hypnotic transcendence. A sound unsettling and angular, but somehow catchy at the same time. It demands your attention, scares you, makes you feel uncomfortable, but gives also lasting emotional experiences that can shake you up in the right way. Like a good horror movie. You could say that Hive Mind Narcosis is the Hereditary -soundtrack put to Metal.
The record starts with “Solar Witch”: a black vortex of a song that you are directly tumbling into, spiralling deeper and deeper into its abyss with awe-inspiring sights of psychedelic horror guiding you all the way down to madness. The industrial-tinged vibe and discordance in sound are reminiscent of another seminal Avantgarde Black Metal band and their extraordinary last record Teethed Glory and Injury (2013): Altar of Plagues! Oh, do I miss this band, but Thantifaxath is here to take their place. “Surgical Utopian Love” follows this with ebbs and flows of urgent drumming and swirling guitars, not unlike Imperial Triumphant with a hint of Deathspell Omega.
These bands may be the closest comparisons to the music Thantifaxath creates. But during the record you might also hear similarities to bands like Dodecahedron, A Forest of Stars (the howling majesty and decay of past times in “The Lost Wisdom of Wolves”) or even Enslaved and Ihsahn (song progression and use of rythmics in “Burning Kingdom of Now”). Fifth track “Hungry Ghosts” starts a bit more weary and gives us even conventional melodies before descending again into madness and stuttery rythmics à la “Solar Witch” at the beginning. In a world derailing to different extremes, where perfection and constant improvement seems to be reality, absolut truth and alternative facts a possibility, is it necessary to question yourself, question humanity´s current pathway? Do we have to push somekind of a Reset -button? The answer is most probably a reassuring ”yes”. But what happens after peeling away the different layers of your self, of what you think you are and should represent to others? Sheding roles learned and masks created. Would we be able to handle this modern life of digital transformation better, if we were a bit more detached of its addictive egocentric elements? But without further rumination Thantifaxath takes us straight away to “Blissful Self Disassembly”. It is as scary and disorienting as you would think it to be.
But based on the seventh and last song “Mind of the Sun” we would still be lost in the world we have created. It is an sonical equivalent of the complexity and conflictuality of human life in the best way possible, ending an already very strong album on a high note. So are we bound to doom on a pathway between realms of hell, no matter what we do? Are we already helplessly submitting us to the even faster accelerating machine-based evolution? Am I or AI? Accepting an evolution we might not be able to control? Maybe not. Maybe we just should accept the part of us that cannot be disassembled. What is the source of life and creativity: the imperfectness of nature, of us. No development without mistakes and friction. Trial and error through human interaction.
After all, ”Hive Mind Narcosis”, a masterpiece of modern extreme metal, has been created by three perfectly imperfect human beings, and not an archdemon or an AI, yet.