Album Review – Forlesen / Black Terrain (2022)

This doomed entity hailing from Portland, Oregon brings forward four monolithic songs that will fully immerse the listener in a contrast of the serene and cacophonous in their new opus.

Formed in San Francisco, California at the end of 2016, but currently based in Portland, Oregon, Atmospheric Black/Doom Metal outfit Forlesen draws from Epic Doom, Black Metal, Slowcore and Dark Ambient to subvert traditional songwriting with their new full-length, entitled Black Terrain, which weaves heartbreak and hypnosis to show the band at their most vulnerable and vicious. Mixed by Jack Shirley at The Atomic Garden, mastered by Garrett Haines at Treelady Studios, and displaying a beautiful artwork by Benjamin A. Vierling, Black Terrain brings forward four monolithic songs, at times approaching twenty minutes in length, fully immersing the listener in a contrast of the serene and cacophonous, showcasing the evolution in the sound crafted by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ascalaphus (Botanist), vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Bezaelith (Lotus Thief), guitarist Petit Albert (Lotus Thief), and drummer Maleus (Kayo Dot, Maudlin Of The Well) from their debut effort Hierophant Violent,  being therefore highly recommended for fans of Candlemass, Dead Can Dance, Low and Neurosis, among several others.

An eerie, otherworldly start gradually evolves into an atmospheric and somber Doom Metal sonority led by the sluggish beats by Maleus in Strega, while Ascalaphus, Bezaelith and Petit Albert darken the skies with their minimalist but heavy-as-hell riffs and whimsical vocalizations, flowing smoothly while also offering us all a neck-breaking rhythm. Furthermore, its beautiful guitar work will penetrate deep inside our hearts, also showcasing a perfect balance between the delicate vocals by Bezaelith and the devilish roars from her bandmates, making an instant connection with the title-track Black Terrain, where the band continues to permeate the air with their melodic and grim sounds. The whole song is effectively energized by the tribalistic drums by Maleus while Bezaelith delivers introspective, ethereal vocal lines, suddenly morphing into the Black Metal-infused aria Harrowed Earth, bringing to our avid ears a multi-layered, enfolding and caustic explosion of sounds spearheaded by the blast beast by Maleus and the wicked, dirty riffage by Ascalaphus, Bezaelith and Petit Albert. Put differently, it’s Atmospheric Black Metal at its finest, evolving to a more obscure form of Doom Metal as time passes by. Lastly, in Saturnine the lyrics will put you in a doomed trance (“Come now and let it all go… / Time is a beast devouring it’s children / Wild eyed, the ever churning tide / He does suppress the cries of nascent sovereignty / Lest golden ages be undone / Time makes beasts of all its golden children / Wild eyed, the ever churning tide / As we egress through parodies of infancy / And we await being born / Go now and let it all come…”), while the music remains serene, infuriated, lugubrious and alive all at the same time, resulting in a spot-on fusion of Ambient and Doom Metal.

The doomed beast known as Forlesen can be found on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other details about their wicked music, and you can also stream all of their creations on Spotify. However, if you want to show your true support to the underground, you should purchase a copy of the eccentric Black Terrain from the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp page, from Metal Odissey as a CD or double LP, or from Apple Music, showing all the passion you nurture in your blackened heart for contemporary doom. The songs in Black Terrain might be lengthy, sluggish, somber and pensive, but that’s exactly what makes the album so compelling, consequently  inspiring the band to keep spreading their wings over this black terrain we live called earth.

Best moments of the album: Strega and Harrowed Earth.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing
1. Strega 19:10
2. Black Terrain 8:57
3. Harrowed Earth 12:29
4. Saturnine 18:07

Band members
Ascalaphus – vocals, guitars, synth, harmonium, bass
Bezaelith – vocals, bass, guitars, synth
Petit Albert – guitars, synth, Hammond B3 organ, backing vocals
Maleus – drums

Guest musician
Leila Abdul-Rauf – glockenspiel, trumpet

Album Review – Descend into Despair / Opium (2020)

It’s time to get lost in the musical and lyrical universe developed around a pervasive feeling of “weltschmertz” by this distinguished Romanian Funeral Doom act.

Founded in 2010 in Rădăuți, Suceava County, in Romania, but currently located in Cluj-Napoca, Cluj County, also in Romania, an idiosyncratic Doom Metal/Funeral Doom entity known as Descend into Despair has been gradually rising from that point into one of the most noteworthy bands in the local scene, fusing together Death, Black and Sludge Metal with Electronica and Dark Ambient elements to further refine what they like to call “Introspective Doom Metal”, pushing creative boundaries and taking pride in experimenting as much as they can. The band currently comprised of Xander Coza on vocals, analogue synthesizer and guitars, Florentin Popa on clean and choir vocals, lap steel guitars and field recordings, Dragoș C. and Cosmin Farcău on the guitars, Alex Costin on bass, Flaviu Roșca on keyboards and piano, and Luca Breaz on drums developed a musical and lyrical universe around a pervasive feeling of “weltschmertz”, a brooding and ever-looming feeling that physical reality can never fully satisfy the demands of the mind. Now in 2020 the band returns with their third full-length opus, simply titled Opium, offering fans of Funeral Doom almost one hour of cryptic and melancholic passages split into three unique compositions, all embraced by a stunning cover artwork conceptualized by Xander himself, featuring model Melinda Nagy, painting by István Bába and bodypaint by Brigitta Adorjan. “Opium’s conceptual driving force is, we believe, fully grasped within this image, blurring the lines between painting and photography. Twisting classical beauty into modern obsession, weaving harmony of proportion into the disharmony of meaning that soaks through the fabric of existence, our Venus rises forth from horror and remembrance, drained by her rebirth, as murky as the sea that bore her,” commented the band about the connection between the concept of the art and the musical content of their newborn opus.

Featuring guest female vocals by Tara Vanflower, an atmospheric and peaceful start slowly and gradually evolves into a lugubrious feast of doom in ensh[r]ine, with the band’s guitarists Dragos and Cosmin meticulously smashing their stringed axes while Luca brings the thunder with his potent beats. Furthermore, Xander sounds like a beast from the pits of hell with his deep guttural gnarls, with the crisp and crystalline background keys and synths by Flaviu adding a touch of finesse to their mournful musicality. In other words, it’s truly impressive how they fill every single space in the air with tons of heaviness but sounding melodic and ethereal at the same time, ending such massive composition in a beyond enfolding way. Then sinister, atmospheric sounds and tones permeate the air in the also extensive, multi-layered and utterly doomed antumbra, where Xander’s gruesome roars get even more introspective and grim accompanied by the sluggish and melancholic beats by Luca, while the raw sounds of the guitars generate a beautiful paradox with all background keys and synths, also presenting several breaks and variations throughout its 17 lugubrious minutes, and once again bringing an orchestral, cinematic vibe until the very end. Lastly, an array of guests doing choir vocals and spoken pieces are one of the main ingredients in the pensive and obscure closing tune dis[re]member, where the delicate piano notes by Flaviu and the slow and steady beats by Luca walk hand in hand in a hypnotizing Doom Metal voyage. It’s by far the most intricate and the darkest of all three songs, with Dragos, Cosmin and Alex bringing an otherworldly vibe to the music with their sonic weapons, not to mention the breathtaking final act showcasing grim spoken words, crisp guitars and infernal roars amidst a perturbing sense of hopelessness.

In summary, if you can’t live without your daily dosage of Funeral Doom, then this excellent album made in Romania is exactly what you need to fulfill your darkest needs. Hence, don’t forget to show your true support to the guys from Descend into Despair by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and above all that, by purchasing Opium (which is also available in full on YouTube and on Spotify) from Funere’s Bandcamp page, or go to DistroKid for all options where you can buy or stream the album. Mixed by Indee Rehal Sagoo in London, UK, and mastered by Greg Chandler at Priory Recording Studios in Birmingham, UK, Opium will certainly please all admirers of the most introspective and funereal side of Doom Metal, leaving a scathing mark in the hearts of those who dare to venture through the album’s 59 minutes of sheer obscurity, solitude and sorrow.

Best moments of the album: dis[re]member.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Funere

Track listing
1. ensh[r]ine 22:27
2. antumbra 17:08
3. dis[re]member 19:54

Band members
Xander Coza – vocals, analogue synthesizer, guitars
Florentin Popa – clean and choir vocals, lap steel guitars, field recordings
Dragoș C. – guitars
Cosmin Farcău – guitars
Alex Costin – bass
Flaviu Roșca – keyboards, piano
Luca Breaz – drums, choir vocals on “dis[re]member”

Guest musicians
Tara Vanflower  – female vocals on “ensh[r]ine”
Irina Movileanu & Eva Breaz – choir vocals on “dis[re]member”
Bogdan Neciu & Răzvan Târnovan – spoken words on “dis[re]member”

Album Review – Skognatt / Autumn Skies EP (2020)

Let your soul be embraced by 17 minutes of classy and piercing Atmospheric Black Metal made in Germany, perfectly representing what DIY is all about.

Two years after the release of his debut full-length opus Ancient Wisdom, Augsburg, Germany-based Atmospheric Black Metal/Dark Ambient one-man army Skognatt returns in full force with another solid EP entitled Autumn Skies, the third EP in the up-and-coming career of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Danijel Zambo after Stargazer and Ancient Wisdom, released in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Once again featuring guest musician Gerileme, from renowned underground acts such as Asche der Welten, Burial in the Woods and Osteon, who played and engineered all drums in the EP, Autumn Skies is an entertaining and detailed lesson in DIY, as Danijel not only wrote all music and lyrics in the album, but he was also responsible for all recording, mixing, mastering and layout aspects of it, showcasing all his talent as the Teutonic metaller he is.

Sounding as atmospheric as all of his previous creations, a sense of hopelessness and solitude permeates the air in Shadowlands, quickly exploding into modern-day Atmospheric Black Metal were Danijel slashes his guitar strings in great fashion while at the same time roaring and gnarling like a beast, accompanied by the classic Black Metal blast beats by Gerileme and also presenting acoustic, cryptic passages that will crawl deep inside your skin. Then we have Black Rain, even more atmospheric and melancholic with Danijel’s acoustic guitars bringing a touch of finesse to his scorching musicality, living up to the legacy of such distinct genre while our one-man army fires sheer rage and despair through his growls. And last but not least, the title-track Autumn Skies begins in a truly obscure and melodic manner, evolving into a multi-layered Atmospheric Black Metal feast where Danijel’s roars get deeper and darker than usual while Gerileme dictates the rhythm with his Doom Metal-inspired riffs, not to mention how darkly Danijel declaims the spoken words taken from a poem by John Keats, an English Romantic poet who was one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Moreover, the way the song ends is absolutely phantasmagorical, putting an enfolding finale to Autumn Skies.

You can take a full and detailed listen to Autumn Skies on YouTube and also follow Danijel Zambo and his Skognatt on Facebook and on Instagram, but of course in order to truly support underground musicians like Danijel you should definitely purchase your copy of the EP directly from his official BandCamp page. In summary, Autumn Skies is not only a 17-minute album of Atmospheric Black Metal made in Germany, but a fresh and vibrant statement by Danijel to the entire world reminding everyone that Skognatt is alive and kicking, ready to represent true independent metal under any circumstances and showing us all Atmospheric Black Metal is still a driving force of the underground with a lot of fuel to burn. In addition to that, it’s beyond clear how the music by Danijel is evolving album after album, and I personally can’t wait to see what’s next in his promising career.

Best moments of the album: Shadowlands.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Shadowlands 7:31
2. Black Rain 3:51
3. Autumn Skies 5:51

Band members
Danijel Zambo – vocals, all instruments

Guest musician
Gerileme – drums

Album Review – Vesperith / Vesperith (2019)

Experimental, intuitive, abstract and futuristic. This is Vesperith.

Experimental, intuitive, abstract and futuristic. That’s what an Experimental Black Metal one-woman project hailing from Tampere, a city in southern Finland, that goes by the stylish name of Vesperith, has to offer us all with her debut full-length self-titled opus, or as Vesperith herself likes to call it, get ready for an entrancing tempest of “Experimental Audiovisual Mysticism” made in Finland. Co-produced by Oranssi Pazuzu mainman Jun-His, Vesperith is the brainchild of the multi-talented artist Sariina Tani, former vocalist for Finnish Progressive Gothic/Melodic Doom Metal band Reveries End, who’s not only responsible for all vocals and instruments in her debut album, but also for the songwriting, lyrics, artwork and animation, channeling the depths of the cosmos through the vessel of Vesperith by fusing music, art and theosophy to otherworldly, meditatively chaotic dark radiance.

Musically speaking, Vesperith sounds and feels like a cosmic marriage of Björk meets Swans via Emperor (and we can also add Myrkur and Burzum to this amalgamation of sounds and styles), mirroring the duality of light and darkness and meditating on the nature of shadows and emptiness. “This new album is a pilgrimage to the abyss. For many, shadows, darkness, emptiness or void are almost stigmatized as evil, bad or scary, but I see almost heartbreaking beauty, light and infinity there,” explained the enchanting Sariina, with her album of entrancing astral visions certainly being one of the deepest, darkest things to come out of Finland in a while, therefore deserving your undivided attention. From atmospheric drones, screeching distortion and a mesmerizing ambience, Vesperith is a conduit for the chaotic harmony of the universe that suddenly blows up into euphoric phoenix-like waves of bewitching guitars and hypnotic siren song, inviting you to join Sariina in her whimsical journey to infinity.

Cosmic waves and hypnotizing sounds permeate the air from the very first second in the opening track The Magi (the “wise men” from the East who brought gifts to the infant Jesus), before the angelical vocalizations by Sariina penetrate deep inside our minds like a tribal initiation to her ethereal world, working as an extended and enfolding intro that keeps growing in intensity and “invades” the following tune titled Fractal Flesh, where you can sense Sariina is about to unleash an endless amount of energy at any moment. That indeed ends up happening after around two and a half minutes in an explosion of Black Metal infused with experimental and atmospheric elements, not to mention Sariina’s devilish harsh vocals, which feel bestial and obscure while at the same time very delicate. And if you thought the two previous songs were already very eccentric get ready for Refractions, a Dark Ambient extravaganza where Sariina’s anguished roars emerge from the very depths as a sonic refraction pierces our ears and minds beautifully.

The musical experimentation by Sariina gets even more unique in Valohämärä, which should translate from Finnish as “twilight”, once again presenting stunning vocal lines by our skillful one-woman army amidst an overdose of doom-ish beats and serene background keys and tones. Furthermore, she fires her most demonic, she-wolf gnarls of the entire album and in her mother tongue, just to make things even more enthralling, dismantling our senses with her visceral sonority. Then you better be prepared to have your senses heightened with over ten minutes of an incredible journey through the realms of Experimental Black Metal entitled Quintessence, where Sariina will put you on a fantastic trance with her gorgeous vocals in an enfolding atmosphere perfect for gazing at the stars before an onrush of blackened sounds and hellish growls crushes your soul mercilessly, slowing things down gradually until imposing sounds crush our psyche in the closing tune Solar Flood, perhaps the most atmospheric and gentle of all tracks in Vesperith. All we have to do is close our eyes, free our minds from any dark thoughts, and let Sariina mesmerize us all with her otherworldly vocal lines until the song’s very last second.

If there’s one amazing thing that truly stands out in Vesperith, that is certainly how the music flows smoothly and flawlessly from start to finish, building a very detailed connection from track to track and, consequently, making the album feel like one single (and wonderful) entity. For instance, last week, more precisely on November 8, Sariina hosted a pre-listening party at the Helsinki Ursa observatory, where the lights were dimmed and the album was listened in full in the dark while the attendants could also watch the stars (and the event was also streamed live through the Svart Records’ YouTube channel, by the way), showing how important it is to listen to Vesperith as a whole without interruptions and with the only “distraction” being the charming lights up in the sky. Also, with a lineup of cohorts gathered around her, Sariina will also take Vesperith to the stages of Europe during the end of this year and into 2020, and if you want to know more about such distinguished artist, her tour dates and other nice-to-know details, go check what she’s up to on Facebook and on Instagram, and obviously buy your copy of Vesperith from the project’s own BandCamp page, from the Svart Records’ webstore, or simply click HERE for all locations where you can purchase and listen to Vesperith. Sariina and her Vesperith are not only the future of atmospheric heavy music, but a journey though space and time that should definitely be appreciated by anyone who loves music, nature and the stars, especially if all at once.

Best moments of the album: Fractal Flesh and Quintessence.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Svart Records

Track listing
1. The Magi 8:57
2. Fractal Flesh 6:37
3. Refractions 4:35
4. Valohämärä 7:51
5. Quintessence 10:31
6. Solar Flood 7:27

Band members
Sariina Tani – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Skognatt / Ancient Wisdom (2018)

An onrush of Atmospheric Black Metal as raw, aggressive, melodic and obscure as it can be, from the undergrounds of Bavaria directly into your mind.

Hailing from Augsburg, one of Germany’s oldest cities and the third-largest city in Bavaria (after Munich and Nuremberg), here comes a very sinister and interesting Atmospheric Black Metal/Dark Ambient one-man project named Skognatt, who have just unleashed darkness upon humanity with its first full-length album Ancient Wisdom. After its inception in 2016 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Danijel Zambo, Skognatt released the demo Landscape of Ice in 2016, followed by the EP Stargazer that same year, and another EP in 2017 titled Ancient Wisdom (with the same name as the new album, but only featuring two songs that would be part of it). With the help of guest multi-instrumentalist Gerileme (Asche der Welten, Osteon) on drums and drum engineering, Skognatt brings forth six otherworldly compositions in Ancient Wisdom, living up to the legacy of old school Black Metal but with an atmospheric and eccentric twist added to its already somber musicality.

Macabre and phantasmagoric from the very beginning, the title-track Ancient Wisdom brings forward acoustic guitars intertwined with the sinister, demonic gnarls by Danijel, flowing smoothly and darkly until its ending, all boosted by creepy keyboard notes. Then the steady drumming by Gerileme and the lugubrious guitars by Danijel set the pace in Xibalbá, an Atmospheric Black Metal tune with hints of Symphonic Black Metal and Middle-Eastern nuances, with the vocals by Danijel sounding more devilish and anguished than before; followed by World Apart, showcasing blast beats and flammable guitar riffs (and therefore leaning towards traditional Black Metal), but also bringing a touch of delicacy and melancholy to the overall musicality through its very melodic and sometimes acoustic background sounds and tones.

More obscure than its predecessors, Thanatos alternates between melancholic, serene passages and more aggressive moments led by the piercing growls by Danijel, resulting in a Stygian hymn that can be used as the soundtrack to your deepest nightmares. As a matter of fact, Thanatos was the personification of death in Greek mythology, just to give you a sense of how dark this song is. Moving on with the album, Dark Star presents a movie-inspired intro before an explosion of demonic sounds fills the air, with Gerileme sounding even more infernal on drums in a hybrid of contemporary Ambient and Experimental Black Metal. Put differently, it can’t get any more underground, visceral and crude than this, being definitely not recommended for the lighthearted. And closing this somber and eccentric album we have another blast of Atmospheric Black Metal titled Fallen, spiced up by peculiar and whimsical sounds and featuring spoken words taken from the work of English nobleman and poet Lord Byron (1788 – 1824). Furthermore, Danijel does a great job both on keyboards and on vocals, enhancing the song’s already distinct taste until the music fades into a mesmerizing semi-acoustic outro.

In summary, Ancient Wisdom (which by the way is available for a full listen on YouTube) is one of those albums of extreme music that perfectly represent what underground metal is all about, being raw, aggressive, melodic and obscure, all at the same time. And in order to show your true support to an independent act like Skognatt, you can pay a visit to the band’s official Facebook page, and of course buy your copy of Ancient Wisdom from its BandCamp page, keeping the fires of Black Metal burning inside the dark soul of Mr. Danijel Zambo and his devilish alter ego Skognatt for years and years to come.

Best moments of the album: Xibalbá and Thanatos.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Ancient Wisdom 5:17
2. Xibalbá 5:09
3. World Apart 5:19
4. Thanatos 4:06
5. Dark Star 4:50
6. Fallen + Outro 6:44

Band members
Danijel Zambo – vocals, all instruments

Guest musician
Gerileme – drums

Album Review – Gespenst / Forfald (2016)

Four lengthy, atmospheric and lugubrious tracks not recommended for the lighthearted, thoroughly crafted by a brand new Danish Black Metal act that will mercilessly disturb your peace of mind.

Rating5

gespenst-forfald-cover-artHailing from Aarhus, the second-largest city in Denmark located around 190 kilometers northwest of the capital Copenhagen, Black Metal act Gespenst (translated to English as “phantom”) is a fresh and uproarious new project featuring former members of Glorior Belli, Woebegone Obscured and Horned Almighty, among other bands, who together bring forth an atmospheric and ominous fusion of Scandinavian Black Metal with Funeral Doom, adding touches of Dark Ambient to their already eccentric extreme music. And the result of that devilish amalgamation, their debut full-length album entitled Forfald, will definitely disturb your peace of mind.

Forfald is the Danish word for “decay”, and that’s quite the sensation you’ll feel while listening to the album’s four lengthy and disturbing tracks. Listening to Forfald is like witnessing the ruin of mankind, descending into an abyss of anguish and darkness to the sound of the lugubrious music engendered by Gespenst. In its almost 40 minutes of duration, Forfald doesn’t provide any single second of tranquility or happiness, always extracting the deepest fears and most obscure thoughts from the listener. Another important piece of the music by Gespenst is the fact that some of their songs are entirely sung in Danish, a bold move that adds an extra layer of mystery and rawness to their music, enhancing the experience of listening to such somber album.

The blackened guitar lines by guitarist and keyboardist Genfærd kick off the demonic hymn Sorgens Taage, which would translate as “sorrow fog” in English, bursting agony and hatred while lead singer and bassist Galskab fires his devilish growls, increasing the obscurity of such an atmospheric and epic composition. This 9-minute aria brings forward somber Atmospheric Black Metal with hints of Funeral Doom and a sensational darkened vibe, with all the changes in rhythm, ferocity and melody adding an extra taste to it, with the doomed ending led by the sluggish beats by guest drummer Andreas Joen piercing your heart mercilessly. Even slower and more tenebrous, Revelation of Maggots offers the listener old school disquieting Funeral Doom, with highlights to the disturbing lyrics grasped by Galskab (“A sea of worms, in crawling pace / All over me, consumes my face / But I still see, without my eyes / As maggots feast, and hatch to flies”). Furthermore, Genfærd makes sure his guitar emanates grief and harasses the listener’s mind, and despite a few breaks a melancholic rhythm is maintained throughout this damned creation by Gespenst, with yet again a sepulchral ending, this time enhanced by a somber narration and anguished screams in the background.

gespenst-photoMin Sjæl Raadner (Danish for “my rotten soul” or “my soul rots”), the shortest of all tracks, presents an atmospheric and sinister beginning before the band attacks us with their dynamic blend of Black and Doom Metal, where the guitar riffs once again sound dark and harmonious, consequently dragging us to the Stygian world of Gespenst. Put differently, this is a song that can easily become a funeral hymn for lovers of extreme music. And in Life Drained to the Black Abyss we’re treated to 12 minutes of sheer darkness, with a horror movie-inspired intro progressively growing into beautiful Funeral Doom with the beats by Andreas getting sharper than before, feeling like a storm is about to begin in the background while Galskab spews the song’s lyrics about the derangement of the human mind (“My eyes have been eternally fixed / At the spectrum of darkness / A blackened stream of despair / It seems I have always been here”). In addition, when the musicality gets heavier, leaning towards classic Black Metal, it’s time for Genfærd to take the lead and guide the band’s demonic performance, haunting our perverted souls until the song’s obscure conclusion.

In summary, this is another of those albums not recommended for the average listener due to its disturbing level of agony and pain, but if you love that extremely dark side of music I can guarantee Forfald has a lot to offer you. You can take a listen at the entire album HERE, and go check Gespenst’s Facebook page for more details on the band’s current and future plans. And if you want to purchase Forfald, you can do so by visiting the band’s BandCamp page, the Hellthrasher Productions’ webstore and BandCamp page, or the Duplicate Records’ webstore and BandCamp page. This Danish Black Metal group has all it takes to take the underworld of extreme music by storm, with Forfald representing exactly what they are capable of with their instruments in their hands and a lot of darkness in their hearts.

Best moments of the album: Min Sjæl Raadner.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Hellthrasher Productions / Duplicate Records

Track listing
1. Sorgens Taage 9:04
2. Revelation of Maggots 10:54
3. Min Sjæl Raadner 7:17
4. Life Drained to the Black Abyss 12:14

Band members
Galskab – vocals, bass
Genfærd – guitar, synths

Guest musician
Andreas Joen – drums 

Live musicians
Christian Søgaard – guitar
Andreas Tagmose – bass
Mads Mortensen – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Terra Teratos

terra01

Hic et ubique odor mortis… Hic jacet Aeternitas est.

Very few women in the world of heavy music are as reserved, taciturn and mysterious as our metal chick this month. Dark and visionary, the idiosyncratic Russian musician/artist Katerina Khoroshiltseva, best known as Terra Teratos, has been playing a very important role (even if she doesn’t want to or doesn’t like the idea) in the obscure and sexist realm of Extreme Metal. She has been breaking many barriers and paradigms with her powerful music through the years, no matter which band or project she’s involved with, becoming an inspiration for many other women that are starting their careers in Black Metal and an icon for admirers of the darkest side of music.

In regards to her personal life, Terra Teratos is so reclusive to the point that there isn’t much information available about her likes and dislikes, personal background or any other intimate details. For instance, except for her Google+ profileYouTube channel, BandCamp and SoundCloud page, where she publishes selected songs from all her different projects and bands, she’s not present in any of the major social medias such as Facebook and Twitter, keeping her life private even if that means restraining the reach of her work as an artist. Well, at least for me it looks like that’s her goal anyway, remaining as underground as possible and far away from any commercial labels.

Apart from her real name, all we know about Terra Teratos is that she comes from the city of Voronezh, Russia, about 540km south of the Russian capital Moscow and 300km from the border of Ukraine. And that’s it, everything else revolves around her music, her projects and her vision of the world we live in. With that said, let’s focus on each one of her main bands/projects at a time (Terra Teratos and Furva Ambiguitas), and then provide some extra details about her inspirations, experiences and creative process as a musician, as well as her opinion about different topics related to music and life in general.

Perhaps the one-woman project Terra Teratos is the most interesting or distinct work of her career, not only because she’s responsible for all instruments and vocals, but mainly due to the origins and essence of the music crafted. Terra Teratos is an Experimental/Dark Ambient Black Metal project originated in 2006, stemming from the unification of several other individual projects including Teratos (Avant-garde piano music), Mertvye Pesni (only vocals, medieval folk and funeral rituals), Goetia (Dark Ambient), Rokot Voln (Black Ambient), Tierdrama (Black Metal), N.O.V.A.R.A. (Cyber Black Metal), Chaos (Ambient/Psychedelic Noise) and Tern (Symphonic Ambient), all considered a preparation for what the whole project is today. The music, as you can imagine, is an extremely complex and experimental mix of Black, Funeral and Doom Metal, enriched by symphonic elements, eerie noises and a dark atmosphere. To date, the following albums have been released by Terra Teratos: the demo Asphodel (2006), the EP Never (2007), the full-length “trilogy” Meditations About Secret of My Dark Destiny Part 1 (2007), Meditations About Secret of My Dark Destiny Part Zero (2009) and Meditations About Secret of My Dark Destiny Part 2 (2010), and more recently the EP Ambrosia (2013). In order to feel what Terra Teratos is all about, you should take a good listen at songs such as Evil, My Evil and III, or go to her official BandCamp page for more obscurity in the form of music.

Regarding Depressive Black/Funeral Doom Metal project Furva Ambiguitas (also known as FAAS), which started in 2007 as Terra Teratos’ own idea and is Latin for “obscure ambiguity”, she is responsible for all vocals, keyboards, programming and lyrics, while Russian musician Anton Mrak is responsible for all stringed instruments. The duo has released so far the following odes to occultism and mysticism: the demo At the Bottom of the River (2007), and the full-length albums In Articulo Mortis (2009) and Sacer (2012). There are several interesting songs from that project, as for example Invocation to Hecate, Abyssus Abyssum Invocat, Primus Inter Pares and Debitum, among other dark compositions.

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Besides those two main projects, Terra Teratos is also involved with Black Metal band Terribilis, which you can check by listening to the songs Чтобы Потухли Глаза…На Заклание к Черту! and Баллада (Пять коней), as well as other past bands and guest appearances like Goetia, Lethargia (under the curious name of PanTera or Pantera), Rokot Voln, Tierdrama, Мертвые Песни, Н.О.В.А.Р.А., Rainwill, Absenthe, Burelom, Dregva and Humanizer. I don’t know about you, but for me that more than proves this Russian woman lives for obscure music.

And all that obscurity has a huge influence in the way she sees music and life in general, keeping a good distance from any cliché or pedestrian art. For instance, Terra Teratos believes a band’s name should match with what the listener is expecting, in other words, it should reflect the band’s harmony or the author’s personality, otherwise it’s completely meaningless and hollow. In addition, she also believes that there’s no way any digital source can replace a live analog sound, and as much as you try to imitate it you’ll never get its true identity,. Also, she said there’s no specific scene where her music can fit in, as she stays away from any competitiveness in the world of art. With that said, I guess we can say her music is truly unique and biotic, different from most bands and artists we know and perfectly representing her view of the world, her dreams, reflections and internal needs, becoming more and more organic through time.

Her definition of Black Metal is also very peculiar and totally in line with her ideas and beliefs, as she sees it as a musical and poetic demonstration of the Death cult. In her own words, “the sense of existence of this genre is beyond a pure art. As Hermann Hesse put this in his ‘Demian’, ‘The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy a world.’ A genuine transformation demands a never-ending staying in the bifurcation points which replace each other. That also caused praising of Darkness, Evil, Chaos, War, total correlation with an archetype of the Devil, immersion into the images being the most frightening for an ordinary person – that is, everything, for what we honor the real Black Metal so much, and what the Black Metal really is…” Don’t worry if you don’t understand it at first, what really matters in this case is that Terra Teratos proves through her words how Black Metal is more than just a music genre in her life.

Lastly, when questioned about the future of Terra Teratos, she mentioned the project exists without any time frames, without any objectives being set or plans being made. As long as there’s still something arising, Terra Teratos will exist. And we all hope that’s the case for many years to come.

Terra Teratos’ Official Website
Furva Ambiguitas’ Official Website

“Black Metal for me is a musical and poetic demonstration of the Death cult. It is necessary to understand that it is not so much about literal perception of the Death, but the Death as a symbol of total transformation, a transgressive act of coming to an essentially other level, a ruthless separator in all its aspects.” – Terra Teratos