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Album Review: Black Cilice – Banished From Time

When writing about Mizmor’s Yodh for another site last summer, I made the observation that often times the music that I find the most affecting is also the music I have the hardest time writing about. There are certain albums that I find myself responding to the same way I do when I look at a painting by Willem de Kooning or Paul Klee – it moves me, but I can’t quite explain why.

Banished From Time, the new album from prolific one-man Portuguese outfit Black Cilice, evokes a deep emotional response in me for reasons that I’m not sure I fully understand, much less know how to articulate. On the surface, the album doesn’t do anything that I haven’t heard many times before – this is raw black metal in the same vein as the first few Burzum records and Ulver’s Nattens Madrigal, but it’s so poorly recorded and so thoroughly drenched in reverb that it’s basically a sheer wall of white noise and anguished howls. Even by primitive black metal standards, it’s damn near unlistenable. But like the best black metal, there’s a certain point where the cacophony becomes hypnotic and a strange melodicism starts to bleed through, at which point the music takes on an almost ethereal quality. The word ‘haunting’ gets overused when discussing this type of music, but for Black Cilice the description is apt – Banished From Time is the sound of despondent wraiths and forlorn ghosts. The album is painful to listen to, it upsets me on an existential level, and there’s a very good chance it’s going to end up being my album of the year.

Banished From Time is now available via Iron Bonehead Productions.

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