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Album Of The Month March 2014
Thantifaxath | ‘Sacred White Noise’


I realise as a reviewer we have a duty to be objective, but it’s extremely hard to do that in the case of this debut full length from Thantifaxath.

Because frankly, it’s like someone has looked into my head, worked out a formula made up of everything I’ve ever loved about Black and Death and then made an album after studying the results.

I am all too aware you won’t all share my view on this but for me, this is pretty much the perfect metal album. So you’ll have to forgive my complete inability to control my enthusiasm here for once.

From the deranged introduction and insane opening guitar line of “The Bright White Nothing At The End Of The Tunnel” to the final, dying moments of howling wind that close the climactic “Lost In Static Between Worlds”, “Sacred White Noise” is an exhilarating storm of energy and ideas , ethereal and visceral in equal amounts.

Like a lot of the best metal of the last 30 years, it feels like it was beamed into the players from some other and more fantastic universe than the one we inhabit.

A much darker universe, but one with layers of vibrant colour hidden in its cosmic folds.

Thantifaxath aren’t without recognisable influences.

Their way with a well-placed spiralling riff, guitars ascending and descending as they crash against each other, has “Dimension Hatross” era Voivod written all over it.

And the manner in which subtle keyboards emphasise and colour certain passages over high speed riffing calls to mind both Nocturnus and (perhaps more so) a young Emperor on more than one occasion.

But the main lesson they’ve learned from these old masters is one of how to invest this violent music with an imagination and sophistication, rather than simply battering along mindlessly.

There’s such clever song writing at work here.

They’ve mastered the art of taking jagged, disparate elements and making them into smoothly flowing songs. The stunning “Where I End And The Hemlock Begins”, for one example, seems to hinge around variations on a strange guitar phrase, playing around with it, repeating it in a different key or rhythm at times.

Even though you’re not hearing exactly the same riff, it anchors the other twists in the song perfectly.

There are so many little subtle details that add shade in places too – the hair raising surge of violins in “Lost in Static..”, the distant clean voice singing along eerily with the guitar line in the middle of “Gasping In Darkness” – added to the clear, spacious production the songs really come to life.

But you don’t need to appreciate all that intricacy if you don’t want to. You can just stick on the headphones and bask in the sheer force when the blasting ferocity that opens “Panic Becomes Despair” comes rushing over you, or raise the horns in triumph when the closing section of “The Bright White Nothing..” kicks in.

And as complex as some of these riffs are, they’re also catchy as fuck and you’ll find guitar lines tucked away at the back of your head after a couple of listens. The thrill factor on the album is high from start to finish.

Even the carefully placed instrumental breather “Eternally Falling” offers a different way of creating a sinister atmosphere instead of being just a moment of calm.

In setting the stage for the second half of the album if anything, it catapults you further into the darkness.

I’m possibly reading way too much into it – it might just be a side effect of watching too much “True Detective” and reading too many sketchy esoteric books after all – but given the titles, the flow of the album as a whole, the Qliphothic reference in the band name .. it’s tempting to think there might be a concept at work here.

A theme of transgressing the human and giving oneself up to the void, of a turbulent journey through some sinister underworld, of (as Unholy once famously put it) “Satan and the mysteries from space”.

Even without the lyrics in front of me, if that’s what they’re going for they’ve succeeded in making a record that’s evocative of such a nightmarish vision.

Thantifaxath have nailed a sound that’s both familiar and fresh, free of the rapidly aging tropes that demarcate much of what’s currently going on in terms of popular extreme metal – there’s no “post” anything here, thank fuck.

And while it takes inspiration from the Death, Thrash and progressive strains of the metal tree, it’s a definitively Black Metal record played by a band who have developed a personal take of their own.

They’ve made a totally addictive record with a timeless quality, and one which is likely to pull off the rare trick of pleasing both staunch underground nerds like me, and quite possibly (given the right push) more fans of more populist acts like Behemoth or Watain.

An exemplary debut album from a band of immense potential. Wether you recognise it or not, this is the beginning of something very special.

5/5 – Jamie Grimes :: 11/3/14

This is a track from Thantifaxath’s last release, as new ones arent up yet. There is however a new track streaming at Invisible Oranges, here – Get it while it’s hot!



10 Comments
  1. Quite a glowing review. Very well composed.

    I can’t listen to that now but I will surely in the comfort of my gaff later. It certainly sounds like a ‘paisaje’ as they say here in Spain, so looking forward to getting to grips with it to see if the acoustics are on a par with the prose.

  2. You should perhaps take that the first paragraph as a disclaimer, and clarification that this is my personal opinion (as most reviews are, but really shouldn’t be); but honestly, just as a fan of this kind of music for most of my life, my reaction really is that of a fan here moreso than someone trying to analyse a record for once. It’s a gut reaction as much as me trying to explain why I think it’s so good, because basically, it’s the most exciting metal record I’ve heard in years.

  3. Nasgul_Brian Says:

    Just a wee correction regarding the link Jamie. There is a stream on Soundcloud of the first track from the new album here. It was linked in the Thantifaxath thread in the forum. Both tracks are deadly! A little bit like Castevet in parts or at least a similar feel to what they are up to musically/aesthetically.

    https://soundcloud.com/user3105090/thanifaxath-the-bright-white

  4. re that: Brian, I can’t check soundcloud in work but I’d sent CT that link and my understanding was it wasn’t working anymore? The usual format is a video or soundcloud link and as neither seemed to be doable for the new album tracks at the time (look at the date – this review was completed and submitted yesterday) CT opted for the older tune,BUT if you look at the end there’s a link to a track Invisible Oranges are now streaming. Which, Conveniently, is my favourite track on the album 🙂

  5. Nice review! I’m really anticipating brilliance from this album and cannot wait for it to drop.

  6. Nasgul_Brian Says:

    Ah yeah I didn’t think of the video/link style that is usually a staple to the end. The soundcloud link worked for me this morning though as well. Anyways..all is good! Liked that IO link too I reckon it sounds alot more interesting than the earlier stuff linked here. Looking forward to hearing it.

  7. earl grey Says:

    I had a lot of trouble finding a current link – IO seems to be the only one. Hence I opted for an older tune. As soon as a current one is uploaded, I’ll get it on here.

  8. Black Shepherd Says:

    Incidentally, these album sounds like what the new Ephel Duath could have been as good as, but wasn’t.

    I’m looking forward to passing evenings with this, the Funereal Presence one and, of course, fetish of the month, Valonielu.

  9. […] content, there’s little to deny that the records have been intriguing one way or another. Thantifaxath, for example, may divide some folk but ‘Sacred White Noise’ is undeniably […]

  10. Well written review. I listened to this record for the first time a few weeks ago and it has already become one of the best records I’ve ever heard.

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