Mastery
Valis


2.0
poor

Review

by Xenophanes STAFF
February 10th, 2015 | 16 replies


Release Date: 02/17/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In an attempt at....something...Mastery has only managed to present itself as a jester in the guise of a philosopher.

VALIS is the sound of black metal collapsing in on itself from the weight of indulgence. It isn't clear whether or not Mastery do this in a tongue and cheek fashion, with each grinding note seeping with ambiguous sincerity. Because of this, it really is difficult to connect with what the California one man project is doing. One the on hand, it's a brilliant move to eviscerate modern day black metal by contorting every trope into a senseless heap. Yet there is an underlying feeling that maybe this should be taken seriously, and that the man behind Mastery truly feels like there is something of note here. Whatever the intention, VALIS is worth a listen if only for listeners to judge for themselves.

Ephemeral Domignostika (first clue to this being a farce) can be seen in promotional photos donning corpse paint and a Bathory shirt (second clue) whilst sneering into the camera. And that really evokes the aesthetic that hes was going for, with the overt "black metal" sentiments being a contrived cover rather than feeling "trve." You see, VALIS does not have a lot in common with most black metal musicians these days. The album is crystal clear to hear. Its gleaming production give everything a pristine gleam, which in its own way keeps with the genre norms of being cold and distant. What defines this record, and in many respects sets it apart, is the caustic noise that is present in nearly every second. The record is a constant barrage of sharp, mechanical sounds that make the listener feels as though they are being gnashed by the teeth of some unfeeling beast.

If that sounds annoying to you then chances are that it probably will be.

After all this is where VALIS loses what could have made it a really cool record--it's simply to far up its own ass to see that it isn't that profound or interesting. Mastery play choatically, with some songs featuring up to 100 riffs, all meshed together in an improvised free jazz hell. It's noisy and technical, like Krallice by way of Lightning Bolt. But instead of this grind tinged pieces being relevant works, they stretch onward into ambivalence. One song even cuts through to the 17 minute mark. Yes, it's almost 20 minutes of non stop acerbic black metal. Admirable as it may be, it's just hard to see the point of it all. While Mastery truly have an amazing grasp of sonic manipulation, it comes of as absurd in practice. There is no feeling here. There is no artistry. Just cold and barren soundscapes that work like wars of attrition rather than actually pieces of music.

And really that may be the point of it all. Maybe Mastery is saying something truly profound here. Maybe this is all a massive criticism of modern day black metal, as he takes every tried and true staple and chops it, screws it, and obliterates it in a perfunctory method. At the same time, VALIS is a wasted breath, saying so much with so little actually being said. Simply making something noisy and avant-garde does not make it interesting. In fact, there really is not a whole lot here that happens to be clever. Such methods have been used before with much better results (see: Wold, Emit, Amocoma), making Mastery appear to be a jester in the guise of a philosopher.



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user ratings (19)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2015


8396 Comments


Album stream: http://theflenser.bandcamp.com/album/valis

Eli can you post the album's track list in here? I hadn't been able to find in on the net.

Will read asap.

Digging: Meridian (CHE) - The Seventh Sun

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
February 10th 2015


19985 Comments


artwork is really sweet and id usually jump at any black metal that referenced phillip k dick, but your descriptions of this make it readily apparent that this wouldnt be my cup of tea.

YakNips
February 10th 2015


19835 Comments


this actually sounds cool from what i'm hearing

also i would fix "Mastery play choatically"

TheBarber
February 10th 2015


3812 Comments


I do love Flenser enough to give this a listen anyway, shame if it sucks though since It looked promising

Digging: Neurosis - Honor Found in Decay

Mewcopa0
February 10th 2015


1878 Comments


it's not well executed, but it has it's novelty.

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
February 10th 2015


19985 Comments


sup dude

zensei999
February 10th 2015


7 Comments


This is why i hate pre-ordering music, smh.

cryptside
February 11th 2015


2397 Comments


Awesome review, man. Was an interesting read, but I doubt I would enjoy the album.

Illoomorpheme
February 11th 2015


392 Comments


Tracklist for @Voivod

#1 V.A.L.I.S.V.E.S.S.E.L.
#2 A.S.H.V.E.S.S.E.L.
#3 L.O.R.E.S.E.E.K.E.R.
#4 I.L.K.S.E.E.K.E.R.
#5 S.T.A.R.S.E.E.K.E.R.

With that done, I actually rather enjoyed the first track released, but I will have to listen to the rest
of the album. I liked it for its utter chaos, and some really evil sounding riffs sprinkled in. As a whole
though, the song was a bit, how do I say it, sparse? Even with the sheer chaos and madness that it sought
to present, it lost its effect rather quickly and just melded into a uniform sea of buzz. I'm afraid that
most of the album is likely the same.

Judio!
February 12th 2015


8452 Comments


Sounds pretty awful so far to be honest. Some interesting ideas for sure, but i don't have much hope in this being above a 2-2.5.

krthll1
February 14th 2015


100 Comments


I strangely found the record to be a interesting due to it not wanting to conform to any sense of musical balance. Valis will be a great album for black metal fans to debate just because it does feel like a farce on the genre, but also a strange work of art at the same time. This is certainly the weirdest thing I have listened to in a very long time, and makes Valerio Tricoli's music seem uniform in comparison.

YakNips
February 14th 2015


19835 Comments


i mean it's pretty obvious that it's made to be intentionally inaccessible

emester
March 5th 2015


8266 Comments


This sounds like a fucking mess. Holy hell

Digging: Lichmagick - Lichmagick

Solbrave
March 7th 2015


574 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i love it tbh

adr
August 18th 2015


12006 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it's pretty nice yea

Papa Universe
May 23rd 2019


22370 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

man, I've been looking all over for this one



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