Sacred White Noise

Written by: MST on 02/07/2014 04:02:30

The mysterious Canadian black metal trio known as Thantifaxath blew me away in 2011 with their self titled debut EP, a 16-minute display of brilliantly crafted semi-progressive black metal with a depressive edge. This year, the band have received a huge amount of exposure with the release of their debut full length album, "Sacred White Noise", and a string of live shows in the US granting them additional recognition. Given the quality of the band's first release, there was definitely enough potential for this album to be excellent, but disappointment often follows high expectations.

It is immediately clear that Thantifaxath have moved away from the depression and emotional despair that fueled the writing of the first EP. "Sacred White Noise", at 46 minutes and six songs, sounds about the same as the EP instrumentally and production-wise; tremolo-picked, progressive riffing that ventures out into odd time signatures at times, with mostly blasting drums alongside the shrieked vocals. But instead of purveying feelings of loneliness, betrayal and depression this album instead portrays a sense of existential anxiety. With this shift in atmosphere, the sound is radically different while at the same time staying relatively close to the general sound of the EP.

The album gets off to a good start with "The Bright White Nothing at the End of the Tunnel" which perfectly showcases the strengths in the band's riffs and the dense, at times almost wall of sound-like atmosphere which is enhanced by keyboards in certain parts. When the song reaches its peak, it succeeds in sounding like the sonic equivalent to a state of absolute panic, and for a while that success is carried on. Unfortunately, somewhere around the halfway mark of the album the intensity has diminished severely, and three songs fly by relatively unnoticed. Those three weaker songs simply don't pack the emotional punch that the rest of the album does; the riffing is sub par and the songs don't effectively build and release enough tension, resulting in a middle section of the album which simply isn't memorable enough.

Album closer "Lost in Static Between Worlds" salvages the album in the end, proving once again that the band can make this sound and atmosphere work. Thantifaxath have to be given credit for their desire to innovate, but ultimately I still think that the sound on the band's first EP had more potential - maybe not in innovation, but definitely in intensity. "Sacred White Noise" is a decent album all in all, but not the spectacular debut I was hoping for.


Download: The Bright White Nothing at the End of the Tunnel, Where I End and the Hemlock Begins, Lost in Static Between Worlds
For The Fans Of: Deathspell Omega, Negative Plane, Blut Aus Nord
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 15.04.2014
Dark Descent Records

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