|Photo by Nicéphore Niépce|
Flying completely under the metallic radar, Thantifaxath quietly released their debut 12-inch at the end of 2011, which made it too late to appear on just about every annual best-of list. But after stumbling across it a few months after it came out it quickly became one of my favorite releases of that year. The unknown members hide their identity and perform live with countenance-covering robes to obscure their ages and genders; an increasingly popular trend among groups who eschew the modernity of social media and "celebrity" worship.
But within seconds of the first proper track, it's clear this isn't your neighborhood undergound kvlt collective. "Violently Expanding Emptiness" opens with one of the most memorable intros in recent memory. Not only is the bass audible, it's catchy and clean; lending its voice as a guiding force in the sonic onslaught. And this theme continues as you slowly realize the vocals are understandable - though without losing any of the chaotic depravity as is the norm in the genre. The EP continues to confound as it works its way through the next ten minutes, expanding on the beautifully non-canon sound with guitar solos, precision atonality and punishing yet unique percussion.
They fuse their melodic rhythms with odd time signatures and an experimental sheen reminiscent of Deathspell Omega, giving the finger to simplistic black metal that would make the complex French hordes proud. They may have only four recorded tracks to their name, but these clandestine Torontonians have shown a proficiency and sound unparalleled in the sea of North American black metal. With no online presence it's tough to say what the future holds for the band, but a recent live performance of a new song promises there is much more up their dark, flowing sleeves.
Previously unavailable digitally, the one-sided 12-inch is one of the most beautiful pieces of physical media on my shelf. Although Metal Bandcamp is (obviously) dedicated to the promotion of easily-accessible digital tracks, this is one piece of vinyl that collectors will not want to miss.
This review is no longer accompanied by a player, because the Bandcamp page now greets you with the following message:
Thantifaxath has asked that their music be removed from bandcamp. You can listen to it on YouTube, Grooveshark, etc. just not here.A silly decision, but it's their choice of course.