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Thief – The 16 Deaths of My Master

The 16 Deaths of My Master
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 20 October 2021, 3:21 PM

THIEF is the brainchild of Dylan Neal, a dulcimer player for the critically acclaimed experimental Black Metal band BOTANIST. Neal began to experiment with a new sound. “Deeply inspired by sacred vocal harmonics, Gregorian chants and the limitlessness of electronic music, he began to connect the dots between the new and ancient; the past and sonic expressions of the future. This involved crate digging for strange medieval hymns and melding them with electronic and Black Metal elements. The lyrics are heavily inspired by traditional mournful dirges and hymns, but they take on their own life in the band’s rendering.” The album contains sixteen tracks. Let’s get to some of the highlights of the album here.

“Underking” opens with electronica and melancholy vocals. It reminds me of 80’s music but with that darker edge to it. It’s unlike anything else that I have heard before, though those laser sounds are familiar. “Teenage Satanist” also features heavy electronica but used somewhat sparingly, to allow the vocals to be the main element of the song. The cadence is aggressive while the vocals remain somewhat subdued, though the eerie elements of the electronica come through strong. “Scorpion Mother” also begins with electronica and smooth, easy vocals. The sounds here Is quite catchy, though as dark as a hole inside.

“Gorelord” is another track weighted down with electronica, like something you might hear in a disco club, but not the one on the main drag…rather the other one that your parents asked you to stay away from in the dark and seedy part of the city. “Night Spikes” opens with some heavy drumming and rapped vocals. I was wondering when the music might segue into this territory, as it seems like a natural progression for the album. “Wing Clipper” opens with heavy bass notes, very low and thick. Drums come in and then the hook. It oozes with sensual overtones. “Grave Dirt” begins with more heavy and low electronic pulses. The album is slowly into the experimental category, especially with the drum work.

“Lover Boy” is a twisted tale of adoration from the deep and dark recesses of your mind and consciousness. Again, the sexual overtones are subtle but obvious at the same time. “Life Clipper” has a different sound to it. It’s a short, two-and-a-half minutes of dreamy and airy electronica, almost as if you were travelling to another dimension. “Séance for Eight Oscillators” closes the album. A doleful melody is presented under thick and heavy electronics, with a slow and steady drum beat. It puts a sad cap

This was a very interesting album for me…sort of a hybrid of Industrial sounds from the 90’s and with rap music and 80’s edged darker elements…like something you might find in the corner of a record store, filed away from most music fans as something they might not want to find. But once you begin listening to it, its infectious groove really hooks you. I would not call this Metal, except for some of the heavier elements on the album. Fuck it you know what? Call it whatever you want. I for one appreciate something off the beaten path. This is some experimental stuff that it definitely outside of most Rock and Metal fans wheel house.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Underking
2. Bootleg Blood
3. Teenage Satanist
4. Scorpion Mother
5. Fire in the Land of Endless Rain
6. Gorelord
7. Apple Eaters
8. Night Spikes
9. Victim Stage Left
10. Wing Clipper
11. Grave Dirt
12. Lover Boy
13. Crestfaller
14. Life Clipper
15. Cannibalism
16. Seance for Eight Oscillators
Dylan Neal
Chris Hackman
Record Label: Prophecy Productions


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