Xasthur - A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors
Xasthur consistently stands out from most black metal is not just a vocal style more nuanced and passionate the typical growl, but the coloring of his music with drone and emotionally raw intent.
Yes, there are dramatic keyboard riffs and some gothic chanting here and there ("Moon Shrouded in Misery Part 1"), but there is also a relentless buzzsaw guitar ("Suicide in Dark Serenity") that is both epic and deeply personal. A Xasthur record leaves you sweaty and drained.
Malefic's painful vocals and sheets of guitar, backed by relentless pounding drums that act as a sort of bridge between moods, borrow from punk and emo as much as metal, but always remain on the edge of despair and rage. Even with the gothic overtones, tunes like "Cursed Be The Memory of Light" and "Eternal Empire of Majesty Death" (a cover of a Mutilation tune) have a constantly peaking sonic wail, not unlike Husker Du. High praise, but Xasthur, despite the bleak subject matter typical of the genre, aim for higher and higher levels of emotional honesty.
"A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors" is experimental and faithful to metal at once, and a head-rush of passion.
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