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Half Visible Presence – Three-Faced Scapular of Death

Half Visible Presence
Three-Faced Scapular of Death
by Gary Hernandez at 06 July 2021, 11:54 AM

HALF VISIBLE PRESENCE is a Funeral Doom/Black Metal project out of Haarlem, Netherlands. Brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, Arveth, the project first made its appearance on two separate splits in 2014 with “Downwards Deathmarch.” September 11, 2020 saw the first release of their debut EP “Three-Faced Scapular of Death” in digipack MCD.  On February 2, 2021, a second release was issued.

The three-track EP is a “conceptual work portraying three different perspectives on Death: Loss, Liberation and Retaliation.” Portuguese author, poet, and playwright José Luís Peixoto authored three exclusive texts for the project that served as a basis for the lyrics. No stranger to Metal, back in 2003 Peixoto also worked with MOONSPELL, a Doom Metal band out of Lisbon, contributing ten interconnected stories to accompany their ten-track album, “The Antidote.”

“Three-Faced Scapular of Death” starts off with “Loss,” a contemplative and melodic Black Metal piece with distressed accents that sound like an out-of-tune, haunted as fuck Eastern string instrument. The last third of this track includes a lead solo that is simply gorgeous. Track two, “Liberation” starts with a soft acoustic intro — well, at over two minutes long it’s more of a full movement rather than an intro. This, of course, transitions into a much more aggressive movement. Now here’s the interesting thing about this track, this album, this band: Just as the tempo and discordance and aggression build to fevered pitch, the song shifts into a harmonious and soothing movement complete with synth or real violins. This new phasing lulls you in . . . and then abruptly ends, which I hated and loved but mostly loved.

The final track, “Retaliation,” oddly enough begins with a long ambient intro. I say “oddly” because my expectation was that “retaliation” would involve a degree of overt violence. The track then moves into an other-worldly stage with vocals that are half spoken but completely disturbing. We are then ushered to the end of the EP in a slow, deliberate march of doom. All together, “Three-Faced Scapular of Death” is a moody explication of death, with equal measures of despair and triumph. This isn’t your traditional Black Metal album, nor is it your traditional Funeral Doom, but rather it lies at the nexus of both and neither. This album succeeds on many levels, from lyrical intent to musical execution to final mastering.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Loss
2. Liberation
3. Retaliation
Arvath – All Instruments
Record Label: Duplicate Records


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