Review Summary: Can you see the demon behind the choir?
Evil has always been a seductive concept for heavy metal, one need not be versed in black arts to understand the reason for this attraction, which in its substance is the denial of what is morally accepted or, if we wish, an expression of intellectual and artistic rebellion. As an agnostic, I don't believe in the Christian devil, but I do believe in evil as an abstract concept, which goes far beyond the irreverence or adolescent immaturity we see in many black metal bands. It's something inherent to all of us, eternally present, manifesting itself artistically in various styles and forms, as a constant reminder of our incessant curiosity for the occult. Spanish Teitanblood are one of these contemporary manifestations, their murky, organic, blackened death metal carries us to a dark corner of the mind, that small space that has fed artists like H.R. Giger, William Blake or Deathspell Omega, who fascinate people seeking entertainment out of the boring, tedious and ultra-realistic day by day, like myself. With three EPs and two albums under their belt, Teitanblood reaches 2019 with a short but interesting repertoire, gaining some notoriety within the European underground black metal circuit, which has embraced the band's chaotic style, and the way it combines black metal's aesthetics with death metal's density.
Although Teitanblood are often associated with bands like Blasphemy or Archgoat, the first reference that comes to mind when I hear these cursed Spaniards is early Sodom, maybe because they pioneered this more primeval approach, with deeper roots in bands such as Venom and Motorhead. This thrashy look and feel is very much present in The Baneful Choir
, reaching its peak in "Verdict of the Dead", which is probably the most thrash-oriented track this band has ever released. Don't get me wrong, the band didn't put on the old In the Sign of Evil
t-shirts and started doing old-school blackened thrash, but that feeling is somewhat present in the album. The Baneful Choir
welcomes us in the best possible way. Rapture Below and Black Vertebrae instrumentally introduce the album quite effectively, allowing us a gradual and smooth entrance, preparing us for the nightmares that will follow, namely "Leprous Fire" and "Ungodly Others", both massive offerings that remind us of the Purging Tongues
era, the latter being another fine example of the thrashier approach I mentioned earlier. It's too late to turn back, the relentless "Inhuman Utterings", and two interludes that follow, push us violently into the monolithic, minimalist title track, the album's highlight and one of the best tracks this band has ever recorded. What a massive track, my friends, an extraordinary showcase of how a single riff can feed nine minutes of music. It's now perfectly clear the band this time wanted to emphasize their death thrash side, without losing their identity. A bit like a sculptor who adds a new form to his work, without drastically changing its shape, nor the dark color of his raw material.
The Baneful Choir
is yet another cursed chapter of these Spanish sinners. A tenebrous nook hidden in darkness, where the wicked manifest themselves in a choir of suffering and despair, and there are those who say if we look closely enough, we can see the devil dressed in red. But we, rational men, do not believe in these things, do we?