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xasthur - All Reflections Drained
Originally released on cassette earlier in the year 'All Reflections Drained' is the latest album from one of the US black metal scene's most consistent and prolific artists. Most well known for his vocal work on Sunn O)))'s 'Black One', Xasthur's Malefic has always managed to keep things on a level, releasing album after album of buzzing, thick, funereal black metal. This latest might surprise fans slightly at its slight change in pace, at least given the near post-rock excesses of his last couple of recordings. It makes sense that 'All Reflections Drained' came out on tape first - the sounds here are distant and almost ambient at times, giving the sense that a grey mist has come down and engulfed the record, never to set it free. Malefic's vocals take a back seat - the tracks are synth heavy and low key, leaving the man's familiar rasp to only occasionally erupt from behind a pounding percussive rattle. As the album progresses Malefic's hiss and whisper swells and throbs, adding almost another wisp of doomy ambience to the twisted guitar and the album draws to a close in the tumult of the title track. A daring and deeply enveloping record, this is one of the finest selections of black metal I've come across this year, and a far cry from the near comical theatrics of Wolves in the Throne Room. KVLT.