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Black Cilice - Transfixion of Spirits

Black Cilice
Transfixion of Spirits
by Damian Smith at 09 September 2019, 9:15 PM

I live in a small town on the Canadian prairies where, on average, we get about six or seven months of cold, miserable, winter; the kind that isolates you both physically, and mentally. And, in a way, I guess that might have been a more suitable time for me to be listening to this. But, instead, its early September, the streets outside are alight with laughing children, and the bright, mid-day sun, is still pouring its warmth in through my living room window. C’est la vie.

Never the less, in the spirit of the bitter season, we have “Transfixion of Spirits,” the new full-length album by BLACK CILICE. For the uninitiated, BLACK CILICE is a one-man Black Metal project from Portugal, who have pumped out an impressively vast collection of demos and splits since 2009, as well as four, previous full-length albums.

Now, I’ll level with you. This record was a challenging listen for me. Even as someone with a taste for less than perfect production, it’s difficult to pick out the instrumentation on this thing, as it’s all pretty well buried in a dense, noisy haze. On the surface, what you have here is a sort of murky, Black Metal soup, of blast beats, and harshness. I really struggled with my first play through, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t struggle with my last play through. But, I wanted to approach this album with an open mind for the sake of producing this review, and I don’t believe I came away from the experience empty handed.

In spite of everything I’ve just told you, this is an album, I think, that needs to be enjoyed with a decent pair of headphones, and minimal distractions. It’s not something you can just toss on as background noise. You have to let it engulf you. To me, this isn’t really a Black Metal album, anymore than it’s a Dark Ambient album, or a Noise album. It’s a menacing, and claustrophobic listen. The distorted, wailing vocals sound genuinely despairing, and if you listen carefully enough, some of those tremolo-picked, lead guitar melodies are actually pretty interesting!

Normally, I like to break my reviews down, and talk about the tracks that I liked, or didn’t like. But, I don’t really feel like that’s necessary here, because there isn’t much separating one track from the next. Rather, it should just be considered one, cohesive, frightening experience, albeit a mercifully short one. If I’m being objective, this album is probably only going to turn the cranks of a very specific audience. The average listener will probably give this no more than a handful of seconds before moving on. And, for that reason, it’s going to lose a few points, even though I’m the production was a deliberate, artistic choice. There’s also nothing particularly original, or groundbreaking about it with respect to the songwriting. And, even after multiple listens, I still don’t entirely know what I’m listening to. So, it’s hard for me to give it points for memorability, either. But, in the right frame of mind, this album is a terrifying trip, that I’d absolutely recommend taking at least once if you’ve got the fortitude for it.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 6
Memorability: 3
Production: 3


2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Darkness and Fog
2. Maze of Spirits
3. Outerbody Incarnation
4. Revelations

Lineup:
Unknown
Record Label: Iron Bonehead
     


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