De Magia Veterum
posted on 8/2009 By:
There are times when the music I choose to listen to and/or review makes me question if there’s a limit to my functional insanity. Very recently, I was made aware of the demented new Gnaw Their Tongues album, All The Dread Magnificence Of Perversity, and was thoroughly pleased by the sonic depravity that unfolded. However, it is another project by Mories, (the creator of Gnaw’) that crossed our desk a short while ago named De Magia Veterum that was my first introduction to this artist, and any of his music. I loosely call this racket ‘art’, but after hearing Dread…, Migdal Bavel makes a hell of a lot more sense. Even though the style of metal he pursues is different with De Magia Veterum, stimulating and then killing the senses of the listener still seems to be his main goal, and then some.
Instead of the droning, horror movie soundtrack blend Mories is known for with Gnaw', Migdal Bavel is a purely hateful display of absolutely ravenous black metal, almost coming across as wanting to be the successor of The Codex Necro by picking up the husk of what Anaal Nathrakh started out as. That same mix of harsh melody, clanging mechanics, and robotic dexterity is present here, and expanded upon with wilder tremolo, and much more unorthodox structure. Even when breathing its greatest fire, ridiculously extreme tunes such as “Zaota,” “Rapture,” and the explosive opening track "The Confusion Of Tongues" still retain a sense of purpose, composition, and mood. There is nothing safe or friendly about this disc in any way, through Mach-10 programmed blasts, jarringly abrupt chord changes, and larynx shredding screams, De Magia Veterum only exists to turn you into bloody hamburger.
“I Am The Vine” is when the album goes from suffocating to soaring, producing a melodic flurry among the machine gun cacophony that makes for a brief and brightening highlight. The discordant nature of most of the music keeps things from venturing into a predictable maneuver of see-sawing the esoteric with the ballistic. To put it plainly, instead of sounding like a harrowing horror movie soundtrack where the victim plays hide-and-seek with their attacker, it sounds like an angry horror movie soundtrack where the victim is already caught from the onset, and it comes down to just how much torture they can endure before they die. There was never a hope for survival to begin with, and the pain never ends. It’s also wisely kept to just a shade under 38 minutes in length, and is broken up by two relatively short, simultaneously restrained and piercing interludes, that effectively break the mood just long enough to refresh the ear before launching into the next wave of merciless black metal.
Migdal Bavel is not designed for everybody, and so I can’t exactly recommend it to everyone, either. Taking the production values into consideration alone cuts out a lot of people (it’s grainy, the drums vanish sometimes, and it’s blanketed in incessant distortion), the purely nihilistic and uncompromising slant is taxing to listen to for casual observers. But for those who can appreciate or even prefer uncomfortable yet startlingly technical types of harsh, overtly dissonant extremity, De Magia Veterum has unearthed a goldmine of utter chaos that I’m confident you can gorge yourself sick over. Yet when it comes down to it, I still seriously have to question the mental stability of anyone, including myself, who finds music like this to be appealing, since it speaks directly to the lunatic within us all in a frighteningly understandable language.
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