Wednesday, 11 April 2012

#148 Teitanblood - Seven Chalices

Cryptic and diabolical in appearance, I initially assumed that Teitanblood would be a very traditional black-metal band. I was only half-right. The band play a black/death metal style which I'd venture borders on being bestial-black metal, or war metal, or whatever name people wish to ascribe to that niche. "Seven Chalices" is the bands debut full length, and is in no small part responsible for them being well known throughout the metal underground.

The thing I find with really raw black/death metal like this is that it somehow tends to sound more evil than it's conventional black-metal cousin. Teitanblood seems to be no exception, with murky and chaotic songs, which have a rumbling evil in every note, made even more unholy by their low production values, which leave some riffs as an occult wall-of-noise. The vocals are deep, not shrieked, slightly muffled and laced with echoes, in the style of bands like Von and Blasphemy. Unlike the two bands I just mentioned, however, Teitanblood bring with the style onto a larger scale - something that, as far as I know, hasn't been done before. The songs are longer, more ambitious, and, if you listen through the fuzz, somewhat more complex. They manage this, interestingly, without meddling with the essential form of the style they play, retaining a crude sounding, slightly awkward sounding but at the same time technical playing style, which is strongly, strangely, juxtaposed with the slightly grandiose leanings of a lot of the album. This odd combination, which on paper might sound a little odd, actually works really well, and I'd venture to say that it adds a lot to the band's appeal.

In songs like the partly album-eponymous track "Seven Chalices of Vomit and Blood" the band really step up a gear and demonstrate the more complex side of their playing, with furious drumming and riffs which go down a somewhat more intricate path. The "Interludes" between tracks are interesting injections of blasphemous atmosphere, and really up the darkness and distinctness of the album, and puts something between the brutal assaults. The songs themselves, too, have a lot of atmosphere, with their bestial evil augmented by samples, for instance the outro to "The Abomination of Desolation" in which the song slowly morphs into a chant. What the band are doing with their genre is really quite interesting, and I'm certainly drawn in by that. They seem to have the same certain je ne sais quoi which bands like Funeral Mist bring to conventional black-metal, a deep, true inorganic darkness. No woods at night, no mist, only black-ritual and blasphemy.

As little as I know about this murky, poorly-defined subgenre, I think I can tell that Teitanblood are a very interesting addition to it. It was a challenging listen, and you have to have open ears, and not be too distracted by the rest of the world, but certainly worthwhile.

This is an 8/10.

Teitanblood Official site (apparently...)
Teitanblood on Metal Archives