Xasthur
A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors


4.5
superb

Review

by Freezing Moon USER (5 Reviews)
February 11th, 2006 | 16 replies | 5,949 views


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist


3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Hopelessness, darkness, hate, and suffering would be four of the first words that come to mind when I think of this album. This, along with Nocturnal Poisoning, would be my picks for Xasthur's finest hour.

This album has two main parts; Ambient and Black Metal. Throughout the album Malefic does a great job of mixing the two into a seamless song with both Black and Ambient elements. Some tracks are not Black Metal in the slightest, such as Summon the End of Time, which happens to be one of my personal favorites. I think his ambient parts and passages make this album what it is. The Black Metal isn't anything extremely spectacular, but when mixed with the ambient, it's very unique and interesting.

The guitars on this album put out some very unique riffs. There is lots of arpeggiated dark sounding parts here with lots of distortion that are unique sounding. He lets each note ring out and creates a full layer of distortion, fuzz, and darkness. There are other parts that have a more traditional feel with tremelo picking, etc. that are very well done as well.

The vocals are shrieked and overflowing with negative emotion. Malefic does a very good job conveying what he's feeling through his screams, although the lyrics themselves aren't very special. The vocals are definetly a strong point here.

Since this is a one man project, it's not suprising that he uses a drum machine. However, the drum programming is done very well, and it's almost better than having a real drummer because having each cymbal and drum hit sound the same adds a lot of the atmosphere and gives it a trance-like feel. The drums stay fairly mid paced, but sometimes drop into a very slow section or a more quick paced one. Nothing too special or complex here, though.

The bass, unlike a lot of Black Metal is very audible, and doesn't always just play root notes. There are times when the bass sounds more like the main instrument than the guitar or keyboards, so bassists will like this. The basslines are not complicated, but they're unique and they fit the music well.

Speaking of keyboards, they're absolutly essential on this album. The dark sounding interludes, the chilling melodies going on behind a wall of distortion and drums, and the extra layer of sound all make this album what it is. Without the keyboards, this would be much weaker and less interesting. Malefic does a very good job of using them when they fit and not in abundance. They're also not just there to back up everything else. Some songs sound as though they're written around a keyboard melody rather than the guitar like most black metal.

This album is not for the casual listener who wants to hear some well produced piece of music. This is far more about the overall feel and atmosphere, which are both very unique. There are times where you can't hear exactly what the guitar, bass, or keyboards are doing, but when you stop concentrating on one thing and listen to the overall picture the album starts to make more sense.

Each instrument in itself is not very complex, complicated, or extremely interesting, but when combined with the others, it makes for a very interesting listen. Malefic does a good job of giving each instrument an important part and not concentrating too much on just one.

Pros:
Extremely dark, thick, and depressing atmosphere.
Very unique and fresh ideas.
Well written and thought out music.
Great mix of Ambient and Black Metal.

Cons:
Difficult to hear what's going on at times.

Recommended Tracks:
Dwell Beneath the Woods of Evil
Storms of Red Revenge
Summon the End of Time


user ratings (53)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Thor
February 12th 2006



10176 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Great review. How exactly do you pronounce their name?

Kingofdudes
February 12th 2006



294 Comments


Nice to see another Black Metal review on sputnik. This is one of the few BM albums I have (I think you uploaded it), and I do enjoy it.

RiceMonster
February 12th 2006



62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is fantastic. I got it from you as well actually.

Freezing Moon
February 12th 2006



63 Comments


[quote=Thor]Great review. How exactly do you pronounce their name?[/quote]

I've always said it "zas thur" or something like that. :p

I'm not really sure.


I did upload it a while ago when I used to do series threads.

Aakon_Keetreh
February 12th 2006



448 Comments


this is one of my favorite US blakc metal bands including Judas Iscariot.

Freezing Moon
February 12th 2006



63 Comments


Except Judas Iscariot is extremely sub-par and uninspired Black Metal.

Silenius
February 12th 2006



302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Probably my favorite Xasthur release. The atmosphere can almost be described as muggy and it gives me the image of suffocating. Great depressive black metal ambience.

Apocalyptic Raids
February 13th 2006



810 Comments


I've always pronounced it as "ex-as-thur"

Silenius
February 13th 2006



302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I say it zas-thur, like Freezing Moon.

Aakon_Keetreh
February 17th 2006



448 Comments


i think leviathan is the best US black metal band.

hands down.

Apocalyptic Raids
March 21st 2006



810 Comments


I got this the other day, great stuff.

ChainsawMyLife
December 8th 2006



51 Comments


I'd have to say To Violate the Oblivious is my favorite by them, which I'm actually thinking about reviewing for here. Its crazy how he records these albums, I was reading an interview by Malefic, and he records a track, burns it to a CD-R, then uses that as a play track and layers on top of that while recording it, giving it that crazy fuzzed over and claustrophobic atmosphere.

Nattulver
April 8th 2007



12 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like Nocturnal Poisoning alot, but this comes in close second. The new one is ok, but more of the same stuff over and over again. I love the Burzum cover on this album though!

Confessed2005
August 30th 2007



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is pretty stellar one-man black metal.

EnCrypt.
May 4th 2010



882 Comments


cover reminded me of daath for some reason

stabbler
December 8th 2011



1415 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this album would have benefited a lot from being 3-4 songs shorter



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