So we’re currently in the middle of our Year-End Extravaganza here at the Vault, but that doesn’t mean that we’re ready to put the end punctuation on 2017. The flow of new releases may have slowed, but it hasn’t completely stopped. For those of us who care more about kvltness than Christmas, this is always an (un)blessing, because there is invariably at least one release that comes out at the end of each year that feels like a reward to those of us still paying close attention.
This year, that album is O Olhar Atento da Escuridão (“The Attentive Look of Darkness”), the debut full-length from Portuguese black metal quartet Trono Além Morte.
Yeah, yeah…I can already hear the objections starting to bubble up from some of our loyal Vault Hunters: Dude, another fucking Portuguese raw black metal band? Seriously? Every single one you’ve written about this year just sounds like noise to me.
To which I have two responses:
– First, cotton swabs aren’t that expensive. And cleaning your ears, especially immediately after taking a shower, feels so good it’s almost erotic.
– Second, you need to throw on some headphones and actually listen to this shizzz closely, because all Portuguese black metal does not sound the same. And frankly, you sound like your grandmother bitching about that screamy guitar noise you listen to.
Trono Além Morte belong to the Aldebaran Circle, along with Ordem Satânica (whose most recent album Monte de Lua = the shit), Voëmmr (whose debut album Nox Maledictvs = the shit), and Occelensbrigg (whose demo I actually haven’t heard yet, but I assume is the shit). When I reviewed Ordem Satânica’s album back in June, I said that the instruments sounded like they were “played through a blown-out car speaker – they’re an unintelligible blur of sound,” but that there’s also “a hypnotic quality to the music […]that makes for truly engaging listening.” I ultimately came to the conclusion that “for those who like their black metal on the ritualistic and primitive side, Ordem Satânica is required listening.”
Trono Além Morte aren’t anywhere near as raw as Ordem Satânica—in fact, there’s a dryness to the production that allows every instrument to come through clearly in the mix, which is something that’s rare for this style of black metal—but there’s the same primitive, ritualistic air to the music they make. For the most part, they aren’t a tremolo-and-blasts kind of band – even at their fastest, their tempos seldom rise above those of the average hardcore band. Yet there’s the same kind of sinister atmosphere one would expect from a Portuguese black metal band. The difference? Instead of that atmosphere being the result of recording the album in a cave (a la Holocausto Em Chamas, who are also the shit), or production so raw and cavernous it literally sounds like specters recorded it (as in Black Cilice, who I really shouldn’t have to tell you are the shit), those evil-sounding elements in Trono Além Morte’s music arise organically – or, like the old spooky story goes, the call is coming from inside the house.
O Olhar Atento da Escuridão will be available on the Winter Equinox (December 21) from Harvest of Death/Signal Rex Records. You can hear the full album a day early, though, thanks to our exclusive stream. Go kvlt or go home, Vault Hunters. Go kvlt or go home…