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Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet

W.T.C. Productions (2014)
Rating: 8/10

The A. and Semjaza are the mysteriously named members of Greek metal band Thy Darkened Shade and Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet is their follow-up to 2012’s Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs. It’s a record I’ve eagerly anticipated and it’s one which should gratify those with a ghoulish taste in music.

Thy Darkened Shade plays atmospheric black metal where the scene is set from the off with the eerie chants of ‘Holy Lvcifer’ before the cutting barrage of ‘Revival Through Arcane Sins’. The duo displays elements of polished complexity and abrasive twists and turns with this rather original brand of twisted black metal upheaval.

From its jarring drum structures to those piercing solos and engaging, multi-layered melodies, Thy Darkened Shade is not necessarily interested in creating distant, dissonant black metal, but something swaggering and arrogant in the face of God. The A.’s vocals are a mix of gravelly, hoarse bark and enchanting, haunting chant providing chills for the spine as the music is spewed out in a quizzical, almost perverse manner.

Clearly intent on spreading Lucifer’s word and work, ‘Revival Through Arcane Sins’ is a trudging, yet brash cauldron of stirring black metal that combines barbed elements and passages of stark speed. ‘Elixir Of Azazel’ is surprisingly catchy in its gothic jarring; a shuffling drum gives way to speedier portions as the scathing chords move in chilly tandem with those bleak vocal strains.

Thy Darkened Shade has successfully fused contemporary extreme metal with its incisive melodies, with a cavernous mid-90s harshness played out through deeply satanic washes of vehemence. This is certainly a vast progression from the debut opus, bringing with it a clandestine charm I’ve previously witnessed with the weird, cold bellows of Tulus and the likes.

‘Or She-ein Bo Mahshavah’ is another frosty reception for the listener; a mid-tempo rumble sure to crack marble halls in God’s kingdom as The A. vomits forth grey narration in truly arrogant fashion. The drums are relatively clean, as is most of the sound which is something I rarely adhere to, but in this instance that enables each instrument to rise in tandem like the separate heads of the lethal hydra, with drums striking first at the victim before the bass gracefully takes its bite, and what is left is consumed by the barbed guitar tone.

Often melancholic in its tirade, Thy Darkened Shade as a force is one that evokes images of bizarre yet powerful secret societies encased within vast stone crypts, and their music is simply a soundtrack to such aristocratic evil. ‘Nox Profunda’ begins in grey, mesmeric fashion of gloomy drum plod and The A.’s demanding bark before a rush of icy wind in the rhythm section is interrupted by haunting ceremonial chants.

When the band isn’t uncoiling itself as a complex tirade there are those brash bursts of speed too, and it’s also fair to say that this album is not bereft of weight either. Both pace and weight are applied to the torrent that is ‘Drayishn I Ahriman O Divan’ and the evil chimes of ‘Deus Absconditus’ with its decadent guitar tone.

Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet should provide more authentic chills than the current ice-bucket challenge craze doing the rounds!

Neil Arnold

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