(World Terror Committee, 2014)
Thy Darkened Shade is formed in 1999 but released their first album (the first official release according to Metal Archives) in 2012. However, the guitarist and bassist (and most likely composer of the music) Semjaza has been quite active in a lot of Greek Blackened bands.
With a quick look this album seems like yet another work of Spiritual and Occult Black Metal (not many of those around these days), but if one cares to inspect this jewel a bit closer, on shall be most definitely amazed.
The album starts with a calm intro-song with choir singing, and from the second song on we get energetic Black Metal with technical Death Metal elements, simply put. But this material is far from being simple. There’s a staggering amount of changes in the song structures. The multifaceted riffs (with many playing styles included in a single riff) and the melodies consisting of notes played quite high, bring to my mind a hybrid of the later Abigor albums and some technical Death Metal stuff from the nineties, even albums like “Individual Thought Patterns” (not least the bass, which pulses quite high and plays awesome melodies, sounds often like those of Steve DiGiorgio).
The songs however contain such an amount of complex musical material, that comparisons to many styles and bands in the fields of Black and Death Metal (and other musical styles as well) can easily be made. However it is rare to find these styles gathered into one spellbook so neatly and executed with this amount of magickal skills. The second song alone is such a masterpiece or complexity, filled with such elaborate riffs and drumming, I would be astonished by this band if this were only a two song Ep, but we get eleven songs of this grandiosity.
The high-quality sound of this album fits the professional execution of the original music like a spear into the eye of the Demiurge. The vocals are not your typical Black Metal screaming either, but quite low shouting, which fit both the technical Death and spiritual Black feelings of the music marvelously. Also well-sung church-like choirs enter the rituals from time to time. The last song of the album features spoken vocals by the great George Zacharopoulos (Magus Wampyr Daoloth of Necromantia etc.) which pleases especially us who got into Black Metal in the early nineties.
The lyrics deal apparently in the Left Hand currents of Western Magick, so nothing new on that area, but then again what I can hear, they are done in a original and intelligent way.
With almost 80 minutes in length, some might think this album could have been condensed into a bit shorter version, but the music actually holds it’s grip from start to finish. This is an album I shall be coming back to a lot in the future, I’m sure. The term “Acausal Necrosophic Black Metal” fits the music perfectly, which will be revealed and evident to the ones who care to take a listen.
If you are into technical (but old) Death Metal besides your usual Abigor’s, Dødheimsgard’s and Spiritual Black Metal bands, you can’t but stand amazed in front of this spectacle.
9/10 – Antti Mikonmäki