Voidthrone – Spiritual War Tactics (Review)

VoidthroneVoidthrone are a US black metal band and this is their debut album.

Voidthrone play dissonant, uneasy, black metal with elements of doom and death metal mixed in.

If you smash together Ulcerate, Gorguts, Deathspell Omega and Wolvhammer and then cover everything in a grim blackened sheen, you’ll have a starting point for the filthy malevolence that Voidthrone put out into the world.

These influences mean that the band create dissonant rhythms and a murky otherworldliness with ease, while also actually allowing their album to be more accessible and almost catchy than a lot of this type of stuff.

Alright, I wouldn’t describe it as catchy in a conventional sense, for sure, but Spiritual War Tactics doesn’t suffer from being layered behind an impenetrable wall of dissonance as are a lot of similar releases; the songs are a bit more instant than this, while still having enough depth and substance to satisfy. In this way, (and this way only – these two bands sound very little alike), Voidthrone are the black metal equivalent of Sunless, who also have a much more open and expansive sound than is the norm for dissonant extreme metal.

Having said all of that though, maybe it’s just me being used to the extremity; there’s still a certain level of impenetrability here as you can’t escape it totally. This is raw, underground dissonant black metal, after all, not the latest pop hit. This is ugly, pitch-black and has the density of several dying stars.

Contorted melodies and mutated rhythmic distortion are assaulted by drums that just want to crush the life from the rest of the music, while vile screams with murder in mind seem to sharply attack it from within. The entire album feeds on itself, collapsing further and further into itself with its own weight, only to paradoxically grow at the same rate as it expels its own flesh as waste. Thus is equilibrium achieved, allowing us to experience Spiritual War Tactics in full.

And what an experience it is. The hostile, bleak atmosphere that Voidthrone exude like a sickening miasma is full-bodied and quite tangible. Although this will undoubtedly just sound like ‘noise’ to some music fans, a lot of thought seems to have actually gone into the compositions on this record. These are not simple songs, and their complexity is backed up by their impact. This may only be Voidthrone’s first release, but it’s clear that they’ve joined the fray at a high level, and Spiritual War Tactics is a very strong album.

If you haven’t yet had your fill of music that’s dark, harrowing and ominous, then Voidthrone’s debut is a must.

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