Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Enochian Crescent - Omega Telocvovim

Enochian Crescent - Omega Telocvovim
1999, Avantgarde

This is actually very different from what I first expected from this band, having read a few articles on them in the past and a couple of reviews of their music in the more 'mainstream' extreme metal magazines. Of course what these musicians have going for them from the start is the fact that they're from Finland, the capital of all things strange in metal, and I should have known that they would exceed my rather paltry expectations. What is it about Finland that makes the music there seem so original? Is it the isolation, the weather? The national character, the political system? Or it just something in the water?

In any case, this is a really striking album. When it comes down to it, I prefer as a matter of personal taste the stranger or more obscure sides of black metal, and this band is all about exploring an individual and highly stylized approach to occult music. Notice I said 'occult', not 'cult': there is a difference, believe it or not. I mean 'occult' in its most obvious definition: music that takes influence from hidden sources, music that brings forth or summons emotions that are singular, mysterious, elusive, and exclusive. The most 'cult' bands, I have found, are often the worst musicians and so are completely incapable of composing music that is transcendent in any way. This determination is something that I feel most metal fans can not grasp easily, so I'll give you a simple equation to make it as clear as an azure sky: Darkthrone, occult. Messe Noir, cult. Do you see it? Another: Burzum, occult. Acheron, cult. Becoming clearer?

I don't see Enochian Crescent reaching the top of the pop charts anytime soon because they reveal over the course of this album a frame of mind and a melodic sensibility that are so venomous and atavistic they can not hope to escape offending. This is a barbaric slice of Northern-most hatred, and I revel in the waves of misanthropic joy that this music gives off. The vocalist's screams of agony could strip paint from twenty paces away, the rousing pagan choruses and grand harmonics are chilling in their alien splendor: this is music from another time, another place - a much darker world where gods of benevolence have been raped and strangled and the men who are left on Earth shriek insanely in the wilderness. Tales of grand golden drama spill from the vocalist's mouth, flowing like poisonous black blood. The guitars spin and soar, gallop and strike, converting their own sound into lances and spears covered with the blood of decadents. The bass rumbles and grinds lightlessly far underground in subterranean worm holes, the drums creak and groan, whip and crack, calling the faithful to war with their skull-smashing might. More than anything else, the music on this disc and the imagery employed by this band reminds me of the enormous difference between the sunny sweet nature of life as it is enjoyed by the Mediterranean races and the freezing grim frostbitten fate of the Scandinavian tribes, throughout history. In Tacitus (or is it Livy?) there is a fascinating account of a search a Roman war party has to conduct for their stolen golden standard (the Imperial Eagle that is carried at the head of the marching army) after they lose it in an ambush to a band of German forest warriors: the terrifying flight through black woods, the descent into the underground temples that the murderous Goths worshipped in, the paralyzing fear that the Romans felt when plunging into these darkened places of profane idols, the grinning savages covered with animal skins and wolf heads that awaited them silently in the gloomy chambers with wide eyes and dripping swords...

These were the pagan forefathers of Enochian Crescent, and you can hear that ancestry here...essential listening for those of you who are aware of black metal's ability to enchant...