Sunday, 31 January 2010

Teratism - Invocatum Furae Diabolis. 80/100.

I came across Teratism in March of this year when a review sprung up on the Archives and considering I had never heard of them before, and the fact that the name appealed to me, I decided to take a deeper look into what the band had to offer by reading the review, which is overwhelmingly positive, and listening to a few samples of the latest record, ‘Pure Unadulterated Hate’, though there is a new record coming out this June called ‘Via Negativa’, the title of which sounds precisely like what I was expecting the band to produce, but in sound, on the next offering. Previous to listening to this, ‘Invocatum Furae Diabolis’, the most I had heard from this band was, as previously stated, some samples from the 2008 offering. The differences between this record and that are not subtle in the slightest. The band has since changed in line-up several times, consistently replacing talent with even more talent, which is why their sound hasn’t digressed from being brilliant. From ‘Pure Unadulterated Hate’, I heard a bit of Leviathan/Lurker Of Chalice worship, which is always welcome as I’m a huge fan of the latter and do like the last offering from the former, given its similarities to the latter, though this isn’t much of a surprise since Wrest is the sole controller behind both inspirational bands.

The American scene is supposedly one of the worst. Europeans tend to make a mockery of it because of the strong black metal roots in Scandinavia, where the second wave calls home for the most part and the fact that since the death of the second wave, the so-called third wave has been at its most strong in nations like France and Germany respectively (though I considered the latter to be a more central figurehead of the genre in recent years since the arrival of bands like Anti, Nyktalgia and Wigrid). In my eyes, the United States aren’t too far behind the Europeans in terms of quality and in terms of the whole of North America, which includes Canada, the black metal underground is improving steadily every calendar year. There are a number of American and Canadian bands, though less so with the latter, who even revolve their sound around a European style. Including bands who seem to be inspired by the Greek Orthodox scene, or bands inspired by the depressive bands of the German underground. Whichever area you examine in detail, the majority of the scenes have had a profound affect on the American one, causing it to take influence from abroad and then experiment with their own continental influences. Bands like Teratism do this themselves, exhibiting a style that wouldn’t be out of place if it were played within Europe. Sometimes I feel the Americans are given a bit of stick for their black metal because the country itself, in every sense, doesn’t receive positive opinions in Europe, or at least, that’s what I’m suspecting to be the case.

If Teratism were based in Europe, they might have had more success and with it, more recognition, that they duly deserve for being a consistently incandescent band whom are improving as each record slips out of the hell that this is spewed from. Although my firm belief is that Teratism have improved in sufficient quantities since this record, ‘Invocatum Furae Diabolis’, they were never terrible to begin with. The bands sound can be compared to others in the region, bands like Typhus who are evil incarnate and slight similarities to bands like South America’s brutal Inquisition. The truly demonic vibe of this cliché sounding Satanic based band is frightening and was one of the first things to strike me about the band, as well as their impressive band picture, which shows the members dressed accordingly to play this style, with hooded robes and corpse paint aplenty. With comparisons like the above, it is staggering to see that Teratism have received barely any attention on their devoted page. The bands formulaic sound is in no way off putting but is, instead, engrossing as it forms walls of noise using damaging double bass and distorted guitar effects that make the listener visual scenes of war, courageous battles of men overwhelmed by the odds and barrages of gunfire raining down on brave soldiers who’re ready to accept their fate of death and offer themselves up to Satan, who is waiting at the gates of hell for them to arrive in scores.

Songs like ‘Murderers of the World’ epically distinguish these band from any possible comparisons as this is an individualistic band with their own style, their own influences and their own roots in metal. Aspirations may be different, but this is a field of music that is prominent within the United States, with aforementioned acts portraying similar breeds of anti-social and aggressive black metal soundscapes, as well as bands like Holland’s Lugubre, who’re widely celebrated. Instrumentation wise, this isn’t an avant-gardé piece. It doesn’t aspire to fulfill you and your needs of experimentation. It likes to feel clichéd because there is a comfort in familiarity that everyone can understand. Its a universally accepted feeling. With samples of movies making the band seem more modern than traditional, Teratism run through the stages of occult black metal by atmospherically driving the soundscapes towards a Satanic feel. Records like this are meant to punish us atmospherically, not so much with tiring soundscapes that require us to fully listen, over and over again, to pieces of instrumentation that are so adept in blending a lot of instruments and dual vocals into the space of one song that numerous listens are what is needed. This will never be the most accessible region of black metal, but it probably never wants to be so from Teratism to us all, “Fuck you and your values!”

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