Teitanblood : Death

.: The following originally appeared in anti-matter’s Temple de Muerte zine :.

2014 : Norma Evangelium Diaboli / The Ajna Offensive
Format : 2xLP / CD

I don’t think any band within the past decade has seen as much hype as Teitanblood has. This can be a difficult thing for artists to work through. At some point an impending release garners so much hype that inevitably, a good majority of its supporters are let down due to their own extreme and unrealistic expectations.

A few months ago Norma Evangelium Diaboli and The Ajna Offensive put out this press release:

As with many other NED/Ajna releases there were no samples or track listing available at the time and until around a month or two prior to the actual release date of March 13th, not even album artwork. At the same time this has easily been one of the most anticipated releases of 2014 for almost everyone I’ve spoken to within the confines of the underground.

So now we’re here. On the eve of release for Teitanblood’s second full-length album, simply, yet rightfully titled, “Death.”

With the last Teitanblood full length, “Seven Chalices” released in 2009, it’s expected that there might be some slight shift in sound. I definitely would not use the word “progression” here in a conventional sense, as the sound showcased on Death is not a quantum leap from where Seven Chalices left off but at the same time it certainly does see a logical next step. It is safe to say that those holding out for another “Genocide Chants…” sounding release should go ahead and call it quits. I don’t think you’re going to get it at this point. Those that were fans of everything from Seven Chalices onwards will likely find this to be an absolutely stellar release.

The graves open…
“Mortui Vivos Docent”

Death takes the more abyssal and demonic sounds showcased on the two most recent EP outputs and combines it with the atmosphere that was presented on the first album. The vocals on this release have a much more aggressive sound than anything before. NSK’s vocals have always been among my personal favorites. Heavy on reverb and delay in similar fashion to their compatriots, Proclamation and Chile’s Wrathprayer, they add a certain dynamic to the overall portrait that the music paints. While I feel like the vocals are one of the best parts of this album it’s impossible to ignore the commanding presence that the instruments have. The drums are incredibly harsh. The cymbal crashes in particular are absolutely punishing and the guitars sound like their strings are covered with grave dirt. Of course those trademark Teitanblood solos tend to soar into the mix during several parts of some of the songs. I’d wager that they definitely sound a bit better here than on previous releases.With the last Teitanblood full length, “Seven Chalices” released in 2009, it’s expected that there might be some slight shift in sound. I definitely would not use the word “progression” here in a conventional sense, as the sound showcased on Death is not a quantum leap from where Seven Chalices left off but at the same time it certainly does see a logical next step. It is safe to say that those holding out for another “Genocide Chants…” sounding release should go ahead and call it quits. I don’t think you’re going to get it at this point. Those that were fans of everything from Seven Chalices onwards will likely find this to be an absolutely stellar release.

Teitanblood was clearly aiming at releasing an album that would delve into some of the finer and more esoteric concepts pertaining to, “Death.” The collective sound and imagery fits that theme like a glove. Of course Ketola’s art contribution really, really helps drive the point home. Perhaps it should be mentioned that the interludes have now been mixed into the songs themselves; an approach to recording that can easily ruin an otherwise perfect album if not done properly. Seven Chalices had around four or five interludes among the eleven songs. These were all great and were some of the highlights of that release for me as they seemed to bring that hellish atmosphere to its climax before dropping you back into that desolate abyss. At the beginning of several of the more lengthy songs on Death Teitanblood includes some of their atmospheric breaks, which for the most part consist of intoned chanting and string vibrations. Notably these can be found at the beginning of “Silence of the Great Martyrs” and pretty much the entirety of “Unearthed Veins.” “Cadaver Synod” is one of my favorite tracks, opening with a static rumble that is sure to shred your fancy, overpriced audiophile sound system to bits. The vocals open the song just a few seconds ahead of the instruments as if they were being impulsively orated from a backwards void.

To answer the burning question presented earlier, “Does this album live up to the hype?” Truthfully, there is no answer. At least none that would be unanimously correct. Everyone’s level of anticipation is probably different. Some have probably set the bar so high they’re sure to be disappointed. Others might have just realized that this release is finally here after a five-year wait and be completely blown away having had no preconceived expectations for it.

I think Teitanblood has offered an outstanding album with over an hour of music. After two short EPs that left me waiting for more material this is something I definitely see as a good thing. While musically there isn’t anything here that I would consider unexpected, Teitanblood continues to do what they do well. If you’ve been a fan of Teitanblood before this is definitely worth a shot. If you’ve never heard the band I suggest you go pick this up as well as anything in the back catalog you may have missed.

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