Et toi, divine Mort, où tout rentre et s’efface. Accueille tes enfants dans ton sein étoilé. Affranchis nous du temps, du nombre, et de l’espace. Et rends nous le repose que la vie a troublé. An introduction in French, taken from the album. A band from France, Switzerland or Wallonia? Nope.
Voz De Nenhum is the band’s name, and that’s Portuguese for ‘no one’s voice’. Okay, a band from Portugal then… Yet nope, not exactly either.
Actually, this act was formed on the isle of Cyprus, at the easternmost areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Okay, some of the members do live in the U.K., and the drummer was born in Portugal, so this can be considered an international combo, in case you think that’s important.
But anyway, this quintet, with members involved with other hordes, like Nightbringer, Tome Of The Unreplenished, Necrosadist, Enthroned (indeed, the Belgian horde!), etc., recorded and independently released two ‘teasers’ in 2018 via digital sources – which both of them are part of their debut full length album too. That one is called Sublimation (aka SublimatiΩn) and lasts for forty minutes. Aesthetic Death do concentrate on the physical release, which is a digipack compact disc with about no information at all. There is minimally created visual artwork in black and white (no idea who is behind it, for it is actually quite cool) and some symbols, but no lyrics, pictures or whatever; just the song titles and the musicians involved.
This six-tracker gets performed by main members A. Dictator (vocals, guitars, noise, bow, chains), M. Menthor (drums, percussion) and V. Hate (Korg, Oberheim, Moog, Waldorf, you know…) as permanent line-up performers, with guest assistance of session members (and colleagues in other acts) like Adonis Kilonis (of Frozen Winds fame) and Hermes (think: Tome Of The Unreplenished or Kafros Lord). They work together, above and below…
The sonic attack opens with Ia’Iaxa, which starts quite intense, thrashing and sinister. It is like a mixture of chainsaw guitar riffing (very dirty in sound, very morbid in execution), raw vocals (the main voices somehow are comparable to Attila Csihar’s!) and a monumental rhythm section, consisting of whirlwind drum patterns (eccentric yet grandiose) and low-tuned strings. All this gets mercilessly penetrated by some additional voices from beyond the abyss, sharp-edged guitar soloing and militant percussion. Somewhere half of the lullaby, a gloomy industrialized passage takes over, bringing an atmosphere of ritualistic madness and ceremonial malignancy. An invocation to awaken the Horned One, before continuing the blasting quest for Doom and Armageddon…
With Hornbearer, the not-to-be-misunderstood message of inevitable despair and inane existence goes on. After a weird introduction, a pyroclastic eruption overwhelms with thunderous riffs and with a devastating rhythm section. The amalgam of melodious yet then again chaotic structures, the variety in vocals (all kinds of grunt, scream and growl, yell or bark passes by), the continuously appearing and disappearing of tempo changes, and that truly suffocative atmosphere, all this results in a soundtrack for Apocalypse, like a story of life getting replaced, or at least dominated, by mechanical demonism.
Nails, then again, is a nasty mind-fuck, for it gets performed with a leading role for acoustic guitar lines and warm, melodic vocals (and some harmonious chants). But of course, this is like keeping up appearances. Harsher voices, grinding noises, pumped-up beats, psychedelic experimentation, molested electric guitars, in a mostly subtle manner, all these other elements strengthen this band’s dark-minded attitude.
Chains initially is a Doom song – of course, not of the traditional kind, nor to be seen from a classic approach – which includes captivating leads, grooving drum work and a mesmerizing rhythm string section at first. At about half of the song, thins once again evolve into a labyrinthic aural machine, overpowering and unstoppable, then again returning to the hallucinogen and hypnotic elegance of asphyxiating ambience.
With They, that relationship with the Doom scene is even more deeply generated. An introduction with low-tuned guitar lines and harmonious vocals might add an undeniable hint of Funeral Doom, including spacy effects and psychedelic guitar manipulation. The melodic choir, well, is it like an omen to the end of ages? At about two minutes, things go heavier, yet still They maintains that graceful and even melancholic fairness. Quite a contrast at first, but somehow the bleakness remains.
The album ends with Voidsworn, which overpowers as from the beginning. Here too, the combination of rattling drums, Attila’ish voices, buzzing strings, and the addition of piercing leads, harsh additional vocals, neurotic experimentation and detonating rhythms results in a mighty yet uncommon sonic play. Just before half, everything turns more quiet, with choirlike chants, a slower rhythm and hypnotizing synths, but the sudden addition of tortured female screams (painful anguish performed by some Eleni Chioteli), dissonant percussion salvos, and eventually also wretched screams, are like a harbinger of more nastiness yet to come. And all of a sudden, though not totally unexpected, it does. A merciless fragment assaults once more, yet still it maintains a certain melodious attitude, which once again reminds me of the great Thorns. Towards the end, everything slowly collapses into an intoxicating calmness, yet without denying the sadistic character behind the whole story.
I am sure that Sublimation is not everybody’s cup of psilocybin tea. Even my experienced eardrums had to anatomize these forty minutes of majestic (read: masochistic) auricular malcomposition 665 times (hey, does it mean that this listening session must be celebrated with sacrifice?). But try it, why not, if you prefer to wear a crown of thorns instead of a wool hat.
A must for those seeking for the unholy bastard child of Mysticum, Mayhem, Cloak Of Altering, Blacklodge, Esoteric, Diabolicum and Thorns…