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The Projectionist – The Stench of Amalthia

The Projectionist
The Stench of Amalthia
by Gary Hernandez at 19 May 2020, 9:37 AM

When I was a kid living in Fayetteville, North Carolina (US), a local radio station would play the audio production of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic, “The Dunwich Horror,” every Halloween night. After a night trick or treating my older brother and I would stay up late and have the bejesus scared out of us . . . and love it. Mind you this was the 70’s – a good 30 years before the Cthulhu mythos would infiltrate popular culture. Some forward-thinking radio programmers there. Anyway, the latest album by THE PROJECTIONIST, “The Stench of Amalthia,” takes me back to those days. Not because of the music so much — musically there was nothing like this in 70’s — but rather the overwhelming sense of terror. From the album cover to the narrative to the aberrant Black Metal compositions, this album encapsulates full-on dramatic horror.

The facts: “The Stench of Amalthia” was released on April 17, 2020 on Moribund Records. It is the fifth full-length album from the Canadian Black Metal band, THE PROJECTIONIST. The collective was started by Lörd Matzigkeitus in 2015. After three lineup changes in 2016, the project eventually transitioned into the band that it is today. The album is a full-concept black operetta about a “dying former Film Noire starlet, Amalthia Grahame, isolated in her palatial home.” That’s right, if you’re feeling alone in your COVID imposed isolation, you can put on this album and bear witness to the horror of someone else’s isolation . . . and you won’t feel alone in your empty house anymore.

Musically, the album excels in setting an exquisite and disturbing atmosphere. From a metal perspective, there are some tracks that absolutely crank, “Covetous” for example. As a narrative, the story is a bit difficult to follow. The vocals, for one, sound like Gollum swallowed broken glass . . . which is cool as a Black Metal aesthetic, but problematic to keep up with as a primary character in a theatrical performance. In fact, without a Playbill, the album functions better as a soundtrack that you buy to recall the theatrical experience rather than a standalone artifact. And I guess that’s the only drawback to this effort. As a listener you need to exert a lot of energy to follow along if all you have is the audio collateral.

Identifying standout tracks is a bit like picking favorite chapters in a book. You can do it, but it’s the wider context that really matters. With that said, I’ll go with “Covetous” and “Death and Honor” (OPERATION WINTER MIST cover). That last one, btw, follows the end of the actual operetta and is more or less a bonus track.

Final analysis: “The Stench of Amalthia” is performative Black Metal. Don’t buy this album for the individual tracks, buy it for the entire storyline and approach it like an immersive experience. I wouldn’t count on your local radio station to play this album in its entirety on All Hallows Eve, though that would be a way cool thing, so play it safe and buy it now. It’s the perfect diversion to isolation.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 5
Production: 5



 

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Withering
2. Sepulchral Oak Door
3. Covetous
4. Summoning Transference
5. The Weakening
6. A Startling Housecall
7. Exuberance Contorts an Evil
8. Flayed
9. Perfumes
10. Forsaken O'Clock
11. Death and Honor (OWM cover)
Lineup:
Parageist – Guitars
Destroyer – Bass, Noise
Lörd Matzigkeitus – Vocals
Malphas – Drums
Orpheus – Orchestrations
Record Label: Moribund Records
     


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