CTHONICA, review, black metal, death metal, THYPHOMANTEIA: SACRED TRIARCHY OF SPIRITUAL PUTREFACTION, rockers and other animals

Review by Edoardo Goi

 

Cthonica

“Thyphomanteia: Sacred Triarchy Of Spiritual Putrefaction"

 

Band: Cthonica

Title: Thyphomanteia: Sacred Triarchy Of Spiritual Putrefaction

Genre: Blackened Death, Doom
Label: Clavis Secretorvm

Release Date: October 25th, 2019

 

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Tracklist:
1. Act I: The Chalice
2. Act II: The Verb
3. Act III: The Lantern
4. Act IV: Nor The Deadliest Disease Shall Be Compared To This Showcase Of Glory...
5. Act V: …For The Children Of He Who Lurks Beyond Shall Not Witness This Showcase Of Glory…
6. Act VI: …Not As Those Who Served And Preached In Obeisance
7. Act VII: Ω De Derelictum Domum Sacrorum

 

There are albums that it's not possible to approach according to the "standard parameters" usually used in the act of reviewing the artistic and technical contents of a new release, because they carry such an extreme and elitist concept that, faced according to the above mentioned parameters, they would risk to generate a review unable to capture its essence and, consequently, a useless and fallacious review.
This is the case with this THYPHOMANTEIA: SACRED TRIARCHY OF SPIRITUAL PUTREFACTION, first work of the Venezuelans CTHONICA, a fearsome duo previously known under the moniker of "Okkvlt", under whose name he published in 2017 the full lenght "Anti Theosis De Prufundis" and, now as then, dedicated to a death/black metal with deeply esoteric and sepulchral connotations that the band here pushes to a new level of crypticity and rottenness through the use of deadly, raw and absorbing sounds made even more disturbing by layers of dark ambient and ritual tones.
The result is an extremely oppressive, inhuman and "distant" sound, as if caught in the overlapping of different states of consciousness and perception, definitely unique and difficult to approach, for those who are not accustomed to such sound experimentations.
Analyzed coldly, the record sounds like an unholy ritual captured while in the next room a death/black band makes a hell of a racket, and in fact, the feeling that the record wants to give off is this, and it succeeds very well.
In fact, it's evident the way the duo (consisting of D.V. on guitar, bass and drums and H.K. to the voice, effects, electronics and author of the concept) decide to consciously convey their proposal through a deliberately distorted, rough and putrescent production/non-production of traditional instruments to which they combine layers of noise, very effective voices, reverbs and anything else in order to create a magma as inhuman and hostile as well as apt to make tangible the atmosphere of pure horror emanating from the various compositions (some, however, decidedly long and articulated), rendered perfectly by the beautiful cover image.
The impact with the long opener (almost twelve minutes of duration, for this piece) ACT I: THE CHALICE, is a chilling one, thanks to a primordial and claustrophobic black/death attack that immediately recalls the lesson of the very first Incantation, suitably exaggerated with deadly splinters of primeval black and with the above mentioned use of effected voices and disturbing sounds to complete an atmospheric picture of sure impact, if you are able to overcome the rock constituted by the sound choices of the band.
The piece is decidedly complex, full of variations as much executive (although they are undoubtedly privileged impact and extremism, in this sense) as atmospheric that demonstrate the ability of the band to know how to manage in a very mature way even such ambitious compositions without ever losing the bandolo of the skein and, indeed, always keeping the listener's attention very high thanks to a wise atmospheric texture both in the most brutal parts as in those in which the group lets itself go to death/doom slowdowns with an impressive specific weight.
It's a really great piece, made precious by a vocal interpretation that's as varied as it is extreme, and it's a great piece, a fundamental added value for the overall performance of the composition (as of the whole album).
The second track, titled ACT II: THE LANTERN, starts, if possible, in an even more brutal way than the previous one, except that it almost immediately leads to slowed down ultra-distorted parts of rare ferocity, made even more scarce and disquieting by the band's sound choices, which once again offers an essay perfectly interpreted and revisited of vintage death/doom revised under the deforming perspective of its own artistic sensibility.
Although more monolithic than the previous one, also this composition is characterized by a considerable flow of riffs and sudden detachments, as well as an even more dazed and unnerving sound performance, for a final result that could easily weaken the resistance of the listener less accustomed to such wickedness, but that could, on the contrary, bring to the final exaltation the listener more at ease with works of such totalizing impact and intent to transcend the mere technical content of what is proposed.
As if to reiterate the extreme nature of his proposal, here comes the unfortunate beginning of the next ACT III: THE VERB, with its vocal distortions at the limit of human endurance to act as a prelude to a song with a once again remarkable duration (almost ten minutes, in this case) characterized by a black/death brutality with a loose bridle, with sounds that seem to get worse from song to song as if the band, in the unravelling of the album, was increasingly detached from its earthly incarnation to transcend into a deadly and inhuman entity, driven by an increasingly infernal voice in a sound maelstrom as impenetrable as it is implacable, characterized once again by the usual slow slowed down rotten detachments to which the band has so far accustomed us as well as by the equally usual infernal and very acid noise openings that are an essential part of our sound and crowned by an unexpected guitar solo with an abominable and sharp sound like never before.
An abysmal and unclean track, absolutely great.
It doesn't go back a millimeter (on the contrary, it slips even more into vileness) with the following IV: I: NOR THE DEADLIEST DIDEASE SHALL BE COMPARED WITH HIS GIFT OF SALVATION (a title that is all a program), with the band that seems more and more launched towards eternal damnation and complete artistic transfiguration into an abstract entity of pure chaos.
The sound in fact becomes, if possible, even more muddy and impenetrable, a delirium that seems almost to transcend the very boundaries of black/death to become embodied in a representation of pure horror, helped in this by a monochord (in a positive sense) and extreme throughout its duration.
An authentic piece de resistance both for the band and the listener.
Fulfilling and brutal from every point of view.

The descent to the underworld proceeds relentlessly with the harrowing and asphyxiating V: II: ... FOR THE CHILDREN OF HE WHO LURKS BEYOND SHALL NOT WITNESS THIS SHOWCASE OF GLORY ..., a track characterized by a less paroxysmal trend than the previous ones (although there is no lack of pure violence) but, if possible, even more disturbing and pernicious thanks to the way in which the sound, more and more rotten and distorted, is given way to creep into the listener slowly and mercilessly, dragging him with obvious complacency into a dimension of pain and pure horror almost tangible.
At this point of the album it is evident how the listening experience is channeled by the band in a real sensory experience, where the contours of the tracks become more and more blurred, almost a mere vehicle to sink the listener into the world they evoke, with undoubtedly remarkable results.
Almost as if to seal these considerations, here comes the massacrating and annihilating VI: III: NOT AS THOSE WHO SERVED AND PREACHED IN OBEISANCE... a hammering piece seasoned with insinuating dissonances in which the band itself seems at times to derail and break into a thousand pieces, in a symbiotic process of destruction that involves both the performers and the spectator of this show of blasphemy and death that ends on the disturbing and stunned sound waves of the outro VII: Ω DE DERELICTUM DOMUM SACRORUM, a perfect soundtrack for the damnation and the end of the world that this South American album seems to want to put into music, with very convincing results.
An album certainly not for everyone, far from it;
but if you are accustomed to the vileness of the rottenest extreme underground and you are fans of death/black/doom old school, here you will surely find a way to enjoy without restraint.
A very brave album and evidently inspired by a clear and well defined musical idea, it's the first album of a band to keep an absolute eye on and already deserving of unconditional support.
Promoted on the whole line.