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Xasthur - Defective Epitaph (CD)

Defective Epitaph
by Alex Zervanos at 02 December 2007, 3:49 PM

Black metal made in California? One of the selected few American musicians who would positively answer this seemingly absurd question is Malefic (aka Scott Conner), an outlaw misanthropist that has been, if you 'll forgive the pun, prolific enough to record six full-lengths, three EP's, and eight splits since 1999. XASTHUR is Conner's alternative pseudonym, a one man band, providing this visionary recluse with the main outlet for his malevolent agonizing.
Methodically avoiding his Norse peers' reliance on light-speed blast-beating, pagan mythology and chest-pounding hunger for theatrical evilness, Malefic opts for slower-paced, excruciating forays into psychedelic dissonance. In fact almost nothing here is presented as ghoulish or demonic. Drenched in reverb, slightly detuned guitars clash with horror-movie strings in an ominous disharmonic drone that drowns all tonal certainty in seas of monstrous feedback, resulting in what sounds like a blood freezing sonic emulation of a nearby torture room. Conner's guttural squeal of a voice is spread all over the chaotic mix, managing to evoke extreme desperation with menacing conviction. His acoustic drumming, a new installment to XASTHUR's sonic palette, fits in perfectly, adding an extra layer of disturbing immediacy.
Reality over fantasy. Harsh cacophony over narcissistic, melodic grievance. Suffocating nihilism and depressive, suicidal introspection strike the listener with uncompromising emotional brutality, in the form of a Phil Spector-like wall of sound that is in essence as close to Varg Vikernes' solitary experimentations, as it is to MY BLOODY VALENTINE's Loveless' shoegazing mastery of thunderously noisy ambiance.
If you need music like this in your life, your psyche is probably in some sort of trouble, this is too intense for normal people, they'll call it at best 'boring' or 'unbearably slow'.
If you do feel trapped in some short of Dehumanizing Procession, or if you find the title Worship (The War Against) Yourself to be implying self destructiveness as much as NIETZSCHE-ian lust for self-improvement, you will almost certainly need this.

4 Star Rating

Soulless Elegy
Purgatory Spiral
Cemetery Of Shattered Masks
Malignant Prophecy
Oration Of Ruin
Legacy Of Human Irrelevance
Dehumanizing Procession
Funerals Drenched In Apathy
Worship (The War Against) Yourself
A Memorial To The Waste Of Life
The Only Blood That Pours Is Yours
Unblessed Be…
Malefic - All Instruments And Vocals
Record Label: Hydra Head Records


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