Spain’s terrifying Teitanblood have been unleashing their unique fusion of death and black metal on the planet for 16 years now, with only two albums and a few EP’s under their belt. That said, the intensity of the material on these few releases has been so high that I don’t think anyone could handle more than that (although there are a few of us that wouldn’t mind trying). If ever there was a band that had captured the sound and atmosphere of what we can only imagine being the very depths of hell, it’s these guys, and they are not for the uninitiated.
The Baneful Choir is their third full-length album (confirming the rumor that they are ritually releasing their albums every five years, for whatever reason), and one that continues the vile path that they have been traveling. Besides a cacophony of incredibly unsettling bells, horns, marching calls, and the roar of demons, the ambiance is highly claustrophobic and immediately unnerving. As mentioned, this is the soundtrack to everyday life in the seventh ring of Hades, so much so that the listener can almost feel the prickling of flame against flesh and visualize the hot blasting furnaces eager for souls and laughter.
There’s very little in the way of song structure, each of the 11 tracks an exercise in dissonance and pure aggression. This is unbelievably standard for Teitanblood, but it never ceases to rip your ears clean from your skull and remind you that these guys are working on a very different level altogether. The riffs tear away at every available nook and cranny, the blasting drums and enormous bass eat away from the bottom up, and NSK’s vocals are truly a demonic and otherworldly experience. The one word that keeps popping up when explaining both this release and the band itself is “nightmare.” They have tapped into a dark channel of the human experience and found the most horrific and unnatural sound possible, something that can only be properly ingested through high volume, good headphones, and the time to take it all in. This is darkness, pure and simple.
The highlights of each of their releases are the atmospheric tracks, soundscapes of hellish torture, and filthy degradation that add vibrant color and tactile power to the surrounding music. The Baneful Choir opens with a similar torment, and there are also two back-to-back volleys of hate in the middle of the album (“Insight” and “Of The Mad Men”). But it is the final track that leaves you with a feeling of dread and wonder. “Charnel Above” is like an amplified version of The Omen soundtrack, a choir of the damned ushering the listener through the gates of hell and into the belly of the beast. It’s absurdly both petrifying and very, very exciting, a perfect end to a journey through the internal jungle of anguish.
Teitanblood are not the kind of act that will change up their sound or sell out to make a few lousy bucks – they are the delivery boys of Beelzebub and VERY comfortable with their position. As such, this album is not for everybody and nor should it be. With every release, the band gets stronger, more skilled at unleashing terror, and confident with composing scores for the underworld. The Baneful Choir is beautiful in its terrorizing attack on the senses, a portrait of all things dark and uneasy for the human race and a record that oozes more and more with each successive listen. Let the music in and wallow in the shadows – it’s incredible.
The Baneful Choir was released on October 18, 2019, through Norma Evangelium Diaboli and can be purchased here.