Review Summary: Nothing short of a masterpiece.
If you remember Thantifaxath
’s debut album Sacred White Noise
and what it felt to go through it, you must have had the same butterflies in the stomach like me when you heard the news of the band’s long awaited follow-up record, Hive Mind Narcosis
. When it comes to releases like that though, there is no way to prepare yourself and be ready for what you’re going to experience. Carving completely new paths within extreme metal, the Canadian trio returns 9 years after their first album, to put your musical sensibilities to the test. Again.
The amount of novel compositional ideas that blossom in this record is ridiculous. Thantifaxath
have always been comfortable in dissonance, but Hive Mind Narcosis
pushes even more towards disorienting but enthralling aural landscapes, that the rest of us mere mortals were not even aware of their existence. Even while the core ingredient is black metal, there’s no genre or subgenre labels that would sufficiently describe this monstrous creation, which I guarantee is like nothing you ever heard before. Traditional song structures have been dismantled. Intricate guitar lines intertwine with discordant chords at ever-changing time signatures, delivering blistering riffs that require attention to the extent that they leave the listener exhausted.
Perplexed as it is, the album’s labyrinthine construction comes across as a terrifying and jaw-dropping piece of work. This time, the band opted for a cleaner and crunchier production than the raw, murky atmosphere of their debut, however the music feels even scarier under the sunlight. Needless to say that the musicianship is exceptional, and each instrument is a bliss to listen to, not only from a technical but also from a creative perspective. At times, Thantifaxath
wander in the same realm like for example, Imperial Triumphant
, yet the uniqueness of each band makes it impossible to say that the three are alike. The raspy, aching vocals bring the narrative delivery style one would also find in Deathspell Omega
, as the concepts in Hive Mind Narcosis
are, at the same time, equally thought-provoking.
The more typical parts of the album lie in tracks such as “Surgical Utopian Love” and “The Lost Wisdom of Wolves”. The former is also the longest on the album, and would possibly require a separate review to cover all the different intricacies that arise throughout its 11 minute duration. “Hungry Ghosts” gives clearer Deathspell Omega
vibes, and the sparse use of synths also adds the element of space ambient, something that is most evident in “Sub Lilith Tunnels”. One of the highlights is the closing track “Mind of the Sun”, which is also probably its most straightforward and violent bit, while the opener “Solar Witch” or “Burning Kingdom of Now” feature the band’s most unconventional moments, in an already extremely unconventional record.
Hive Mind Narcosis
is set to keep you at a constant state of unease for as long as it lasts. With such overwhelming and otherworldly material, executed in an acute manner and with an excellent sense of flow and songwriting, Thantifaxath
will have you thinking “I don’t understand how these pieces fit together, but it feels like it was always meant to be like that”. Opening a new dimension of the avantgarde, the band doesn’t simply challenge the boundaries, it reinvents them.