Published Feb 28, 2020The solitary figurehead of depressive, forlorn black metal, Jef Whitehead, has stated before that his Lurker of Chalice project, which has largely been overlooked in place of his definitive work in Leviathan, was over and done with. According to Whitehead, the project's muse had passed away, and so Lurker had followed suit.
Bearing only one self-titled release from back in 2005, Lurker of Chalice has become a cherished relic to the few who have found their way to it, and many have expressed woe over the fact that they would not get anymore.
Tellurian Slaked Furnace is not a wholly new work from Whitehead, but rather an excavation of work that predates the self-titled record. Regardless, it is a fresh breath of creative fervour from out of that original well of inspiration that birthed Lurker in the first place.
Those seeking another Leviathan album will be taken off-guard, as Tellurian Slaked Furnace is more an ambient soundscape than a traditional black metal record. Long stretches of time are spent adrift in pitch black gales of whispering notes and strings, with dreamy percussion that mimics a dazed wanderer through the dusks of a strange land. Tangential spheres of influence seem to converge here, as the Cure can be felt alongside inklings of early Tool amidst the inky churn of sound.
While Whitehead has become known for his monolithic works of singing vitriol, this is a side less known, more intent on quiet contemplation and meditation. The atmosphere remains entrenched in melancholy, however there is an undeniable overhang of vivid beauty that haunts the listener as much as the spectre of death.
Tellurian Slaked Furnace bears no song titles, which speaks to the truth of it being a singular experience not to be undertaken lightly. There is a fragility and vulnerability that bleeds through in every second, as though Whitehead himself is offering an intimate glimpse into his own heart, which thus gives Tellurian Slaked Furnace an incredible emotional potency that deserves to be felt. (Nuclear War Now!)