Cruciamentum, Thantifaxath mix for deadly tour, smashing new cuts on killer shorter releases

Cruciamentum

If you hail from the East Coast of Canada, or anywhere within that vicinity, the past couple weeks have brought one of the most brutal death/black metal tours of the entire year. It’s a shame that this pairing of Cruciamentum and Thantifaxath only lasted 10 dates during its shirt life span, but those who were there to witness it surely won’t forget it.

For those of us who missed out, the occasion at least has some positives in the form of new music from both destructive entities. Cruciamentum hit back with a two-track, 7” release that’ll only be pressed once and in limited numbers, though it will live in infamy in digital form forever. As for Cruciamentum, they have a four-cut EP for you that’s generously packed, has some bizarre new twists for the band, and should be more than enough to satiate appetites until they return with a full-length. It’s a nice year-end bounty from two of the darkest, most promising bands in the underground whose reach should extend far into the future. You know. If we have one.

Let’s start with UK death warriors Cruciamentum, who have these two cuts that’ll rip your head off. “Paradise Envenomed” contains the crushing title track that is the first fruit of the new lineup (guitarist/vocalist D.L., bassist D.R., drummer J.F, and new guitarist/vocalist R.B., who has done time in Axis of Perdition, Wodensthrone, and Winterfylleth) as well as a cover of an Absu track on which they apply their own bloody varnish. It’s the first new music we’ve gotten from the band since their excellent 2015 debut record “Charnel Passages” and proof positive that they remain as deadly and unforgiving as ever before. Another perk is both the physical and digital versions are reasonably priced, so putting out your hard-earned money won’t set you back.

The title track gets things going, as right away we’re in the midst of stirring death metal and barked howls that dissolve into manic growls. The pace grinds away, taking flesh and bone with it, while the tempo gets uglier and faster, as it becomes impossible to avoid the flying debris. The vocals become animalistic and dangerous, while the band pounds away relentlessly, and strong soloing sets fires. Doom bells strike, sending a wave of panic, while the guitars pick up and rampage toward the end. “Descent to Acheron (Evolving Into the Progression of Woe)” is a cover of the 1993 Absu classic from their “Barathrum V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” record, and the band gives it proper dark. There is a strange treatment, as the vocals get some echo to compound the strangeness, the fury is properly evil, and the guitars wail away, dropping you right off at the funeral bells that draw this to a close. Nice job staying faithful to the song but putting their own deranged fingerprints on it.

For more on Cruciamentum, go here: https://www.facebook.com/cruciamentum/

To buy the album, go here (digital): https://cruciamentum.bandcamp.com/album/paradise-envenomed

Or here (U.S.): https://profoundlorerecords.merchtable.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/

Thantifaxath (Photo by Nathan Mills)

Toronto-based black metal shrouds Thantifaxath are dramatically developing into one of the most unpredictable bands in all extreme metal, and “Void Masquerading as Matter” only cements that line of thinking. The band has been releasing music the past six years, with the high point being 2014 full-length debut “Sacred White Noise,” and experiencing the group live is like giving over your body and mind to be obliterated. On this record, the band—its three members choose not to reveal their identities, and they have practically no social presence on which to speak—add spooky orchestral waves and chilling choirs to their already dense black metal, and the result is something that feels like it reaches into the spiritual world to further haunt your existence. The CD and digital version of this record will be out Nov. 24, but a vinyl take is something that remains in the future.

“Ocean of Screaming Spheres” kicks off this nearly 36-minute effort with dissonant guitar sprawl that works its way toward stabbing riffs and grim shrieks that blast into the night. The track goes into a tunnel of noise, met with aching pianos on the other end, and then things light back up, hulk toward the surface, and enter a strange tempo. Crazed shouts meet with guitar swirls as the song fades away. “Self-Devouring Womb” is somber and moody for the first minute before tearing out its own guts and moving into a tornadic terror. The chaos melts into chilling noise, allowing a violin to enter and scratch out the horror afoot, and the music begins to feel like the plane of existence following death. There is a long stretch of classically minded playing that swims to the end of the song and into the hands of “Cursed Numbers,” where the strings cry before messy death meets up with it. The track chugs and confounds, leaving you gasping for answers, while the guitars mix into a heavy low-end drone that eats away at the heart. The guitars encircle like a swarm, while the playing further disorients, and the track rumbles away. The closing title track is the strangest song in the band’s catalog, a piece built almost entirely with an angelic chorus whose ambiance goes from sorrowful and serene to increasingly manic and bloodied. Screams are woven into the penetrating singing, making you see that terrifying visions behind the beauty, and that unsettling scene remains until it mercifully fades into the void.

If you’re one of the people still recovering from this awesome tour, I’m pretty jealous over here. But having new music from each band, even if in limited form, fills that gap any of us have from having to miss out on their brief sojourn. These are two bands whose journeys we will be following with great interest, and I’m pretty sure we are not the only ones.

To buy the album, go here (digital): https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/

Or here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/

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