Xasthur Subliminal Genocide

Atmospheric, deafening, black metal hate mongering usually tires quickly, seeming to lose its inspiration almost as instantaneously as it began. Five full-lengths and five splits into Xasthur’s catalogue this still isn’t the case. The man behind the misanthropy — Malefic — has honed his trademark sound and re-emerged with yet another testimony to the beauty of moroseness. The sombre and foreboding atmosphere illuminating the record evokes a sense of bewilderment, a confusion focused around resolving how Malefic managed to tap a novel connection between melancholy and terror. The music simultaneously conveys emotion and evil in a spellbinding manner, texturing stygian melodies over dreary keyboard symphonics and distant, anguished wails. The songs progress slowly but are wrought with so many dense layers that it’s hard not to be enthralled by every doom-laden progression. The lo-fi recording emulates the raw torment driving the music, while the production as a whole commands a respect despite its lacklustre presentation. Depressed sounds can be dazzling, this just isn’t party music. (Hydra Head)