Review Summary: Progression.’Sacred White Noise’
, Canadian black metal outfit Thantifaxath’s previous effort, was a complete package. It was a terrifying and poignant journey into their dissonant, otherworldly dimension, tightly encompassed in a mere six tracks, filled with fantastic instrumentation and hauntingly emotive vocal screeches. Having progressed so much from their self-titled EP, it truly did feel at times that Thantifaxath had outdone themselves and crafted a pinnacle to their sound. So what next? How does one follow up on this? How exactly does one progress
from this point? Simply put, more
appears to be their answer in the form of 'Void Masquerading as Matter'
and more of everything is the game.
The most outstanding addition is the embracing of their progressive tendencies. Though in the past, progressiveness was exhibited through quieter passages and drones, now they come face on in every aspect of the music. This is demonstrated from insanely unpredictable and disorientating guitar patterns on the opener, ’Ocean of Screaming Spheres’
to the ever-shifting tones of ’Self Devouring-Womb’
. It’s a thoroughly welcome change as it adds a new, more complex layer to the music, making their sound increasingly chaotic and confusing. That being said, other qualities have undoubtedly progressed as well. Their signature dissonant riffs are a prime example, which are more plentiful and expanded upon to illustrate a fiendish eeriness. In addition to this, the ever-present quiet interludes have much greater sonic variety in contrast to their previous efforts, utilising uncanny piano melodies, distant electronics and abrasive strings. All these are exemplified in ’Cursed Numbers’
, an unequivocally unsettling track, with odd time signatures and an astounding main riff, which ascends in certain parts and descends in others.
However, progress is not uniform and one critical area of regression unfortunately does prevent ’Void Masquerading as Matter’
from standing well above the material that came before it. A distinguishing feature Thantifaxath possessed is their unique production, which did well to highlight the sharpness of the guitars and vocals, leaving room for basslines to shine yet still allow the creation of a holistic atmosphere. This perhaps, is the most disappointing, as production found here leaves the whole EP feeling much more one dimensional in its atmosphere and almost completely sequesters any bass from being heard. Furthermore, guitar leads and vocals aren’t in any level as piercing as they once previously were, which ultimately detracts from the overall experience.
Nonetheless, progress is widespread and ingrained throughout the music within this EP, be it in the form of genre or sound. What Thantifaxath clearly set out to achieve was a grander, more cacophonous version of their already twisted atmosphere and in many regards, they have achieved exactly that. If the measure of progress is the development towards a more advanced state, then one would be hard-pressed to not believe that Thantifaxath have undeniably progressed deeper into their already exceptional craft.