posted on 6/2009 By:
Forests at night
"One of these things is not like the other." Unless, of course, we're speaking of New York's Profanatica: one of the prime suspects in terms of influential, utterly primordial black metal stripped of all bells and whistles (that's whistles, friends, not skin flutes), and a band that was unapologetically unafraid to let their rigs dangle for an infamous band photo. Those unfamiliar with what I'm referring to can put their unfiltered image search engines to use while the rest of us attempt to purge once again and move on.
Penicular photo aside, what really made Profanatica stand out was their utterly barbarous take on vomitous, anti-Christ black metal. Boy-oh-boy, did those dudes hate Jesus Christ. They hated him so much they had to indulge in other profane projects just to help alleviate the extreme load of blasphemous obscenities in their collective quivers. One of those endeavors included Havohej, from drummer/vocalist Paul Ledney.
Havohej essentially sounds like an off-kilter extension of Profanatica, with more and more emphasis on "experimentation" as the years and EP's have slowly passed by. The core is still rooted in the Hellhammer school of black metal befouled by crude death metal, but there's no shortage of weirdness looped, scraped and clanging about, especially on this particular record.
I count myself a fan of bizarre black metal, folks, and I've been listening to it in one form or another for quite a number of years. The wavy, sickly disease of Furze, the ghostly weirdness of AmocomA, the stuttering missteps of the wacky Varghkoghargasmal -- it's all fair game, as far as I'm concerned. But I also realize I'm much, much more forgiving of "mentally-tainted" black metal compared to the great majority of our readers. So, it is with an utmost confidence that I share with you the following tidbit of information:
Kembatinan Premaster will appeal to approximately 1% of you.
Hell, I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about this record yet, but I'll admit it has a strange sort of charm that's keeping it in my current rotation. It's black metal by a c-hair at this point -- aesthetically and because the caustic vocals still hurl as much fiery soot and heresy as the early Profanatica days. But honestly, Kembatinan Premaster sounds more like a collection of bizarre, hallucinogenic b-sides from Lendly's previous works. There's virtually no evidence of guitar, and although the record sports a surprisingly clear production, the music is dominated by a focus on Paul's live, mostly mid-paced drumming alongside a load of dark ambient measures wrapped in looped stutters, swirls, drills and general racket. Songs end abruptly into short spans of pulsing whirls, or glide directly into the next through over-spilling bedlam. There's some semblance of a bass, but if that's indeed the case, the sound it emits is so thunderously tectonic and loose one could probably double-dutch on the street corner with its strings. The lyrical front seems rather incomplex to boot, with Ledney focusing primarily on pungent grunts and howls of "cumming black or blood."
In the end, I can't help but wonder if I'd feel hosed by this record if I picked it up in hopes of at least a slight return to the classic sound of the Unholy Darkness and Impurity days. Again, I'd like to stress the fact that Kembatinan Premaster will likely appeal to a very small faction of our readers. If your black metal collection begins and ends with the heavyweights of our time, you will not find much to enjoy with this record. If you're open-minded and have and interest in being challenged by your extreme metal, you might walk away with a sinful smile on your face. Consider yourselves warned...
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