Release DetailsLABEL Total Holocaust Records
RELEASED ON 3/1/2005
Black Sun Resistance
posted on 5/2005 By:
The Noo Yawk blasphemer known as Ryan Lipynsky is apparently a man of many moods - while his main focus, Unearthly Trance, comfortably reside amongst the upper echelon of today’s doom elite, a veritably kvlt mélange of Celtic Frost, Winter and Burning Witch, his blackened rock n’roll outfit Villains exudes a much looser, more frivolous and debauched feel, exuberantly extolling the virtues of metal and beer through a firmly Venom/Bathory filter. Of late, however, much fuss has been made over “Black Sun Resistance”, the Total Holocaust debut from Sir Lipynsky’s militantly cruel black metal project, Thralldom. Having secured a rather loyal, but still shamefully insubstantial fanbase after the issue of Beast Eye Opened To The Sky on underground institution Bestial Onslaught, Thralldom have returned to lay waste to complacent, derivative, scenester black metal and piss on the dogmatic doctrines you hold dear.
Think Hellhammer, think Bathory circa The Return, think Strappado-era Slaughter, think vintage Darkthrone, think Obsessed By Cruelty/In The Sign Of Evil-era Sodom, all curdled together with a filthy punk edge that recalls Cryptic Slaughter, the most rabid Black Flag material and MDC. Not altogether unlike the latter day, punk-inspired Darkthrone material, really, though in truth Thralldom are far more uncompromising and less ‘rocking’ than Darkthrone’s newest incarnation (which, of course, is not to suggest that I dislike Darkthrone’s new direction, because I basically replicate it for my own band). I guess in some senses one could think of Thralldom as latter day Darkthrone ideas dragged kicking and screaming through the fetid filth of Panzerfaust and Transylvanian Hunger, though such a description would do scarcely any justice to the depth of the Thralldom experience.
The songs on offer here are far superior to a Katharsis or a Clandestine Blaze, exhibiting a sensitivity for texture, repetition and atmosphere that would come naturally to someone who has mastered these facets of the musical equation and conscientiously applied them to a more demanding doom metal template. Many have, over the years, suggested that Unearthly Trance are but a black metal band slowed down to a sluggish crawl, and when one plays Black Sun Resistance, the parallels do become rather apparent - there is the same affinity for bludgeoning, smothering, bass-driven grooves, obscured beneath bilious clouds of obscenely distorted instrumentation, as well as the same inclination towards the delectably evil dirges of Hellhammer.
Lipinsky is also acutely aware of the hypnotic potential of minimalism and repetition- “Diminishing Daylight” boasts a PUMMELING Hellhammer groove that insidiously wallows into your consciousness, but the track TRULY excels in its concluding passage, where a dissonant chord is repeated, supported by lofty, warlike percussion to yield for truly memorable, ritualistic feeling results. A song deserving of many spins, indeed! There’s a lot of super cool, meandering lead work that adds piquancy and a decidedly Brazilian flair to the proceedings as well (ie the opening passage of “Soothsayer Of The Red Moon”, where the lead bleeds all over the opening section and then wails ubiquitously throughout the rest of the track, adding dramatic depth and dimension).
The operative word for the production here would likely be NASTY. Dirty and acrid without sounding muddy or muted, this isn’t some obnoxiously harsh and trebly black metal that aspires towards rehearsal quality sound for the sake of underground credit. Rather, the bass exerts more of a presence here than it does on your typical underground black metal record, though in truth it serves little purpose other than to provide a supplementary crux for the churning riffing. Everything here is significantly distorted and warped, rendering it into a nightmarish, grotesquely apocalyptic experience, firmly aligned with the bleak lyrical outlook of the album, which is bleakly subversive in trademark Lipynsky fashion - “Eyes taking in images of warp-speed corrosion/ Nausea paints the picture in the sensory organs/ Folding vortex inside the falling corpse/ You can’t sell your flesh now/ There is no more technology, when the sun goes down”. Everything on this record just FITS, from the lyrical concept to the production to the track sequencing, I even dig the somber, unsettling ambient interlude “Sin Is Necessary (As Is Air)”, a slithering, ominous 5 minutes of skincrawling darkness that actually makes sense in the context of the record, as opposed to being incomprehensible filler wedged awkwardly into the album to extend playing time.
If you share my perspective on today’s black metal, you are probably interminably frustrated with the hordes of flimsy replicas currently flooding the market with substandard Darkthrone facsimile records. Much of this idolatry is simply that - blatant formulaic banditry that utterly fails to do any sort of justice to the misanthropic majesty of Nagell and Skjellum. It is an utter relief, then, that a band has appropriated the teachings of Norway’s finest in an INTERESTING and thoroughly INVOLVING fashion. At a brief 31 minutes, Black Sun Resistance never outstays its welcome and begs for repeated listens. Surely among the year’s finest black metal records, and by now certainly among the very finest black metal bands on American soil. As with all Total Holocaust recordings, this is LIMITED, so you’d best be on your way to your local distro to snag a copy.
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