Reviews : Albums : Xasthur, "(re-issuse) A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors"

Xasthur, "(re-issuse) A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors"
(re-issuse) A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors
Xasthur, "(re-issuse) A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors"

The funniest thing about this album is the fact that it's a remastered disc, and it is still perhaps one of the rawest albums I have ever heard. I mean that in a good way and a bad way.

Here's the bad: I can't tell which instrument is burying which, whether it's the incredibly muffled double bass (okay, the damn near inaudible double bass), the strangely groovy descending bass notes, or the vocals (when present, as the album is mostly instrumental), which sound like they were recorded while Malefic put a plastic bag on his head for his daily "I'm going to kill myself" bit. The guitars definitely win out on this mix, and occasionally the keys and effects come into play and dominate the sound ('Suicide in Dark Serenity' has this weird, almost sitar-ish, maybe baglama saz hook that is genuinely mesmerizing). Then there's these choral chants that outweigh everything in the mix; it's at this point that we're treated to more static (my FAVORITE!) than a 9-year-old watching scrambled porn on the Spice channel.

The good, you might ask? It's RAW. I mean, this is 'raw' in that fresh rope burns around the neck feel. The effects come off as cheesy at first, but it really draws you in after a while. In its horrifically bad overall sound (and it does have that), it makes the listener pay attention to all the little nuances our Californian misanthrope Malefic has buffeted in there. That being said, as is expected with any Xasthur CD, the listener quotient goes down exponentially; I mean, who wants to have to decipher a production to try and get to the meat and potatoes? Personally, I'm more of the bitter atmosphere laced with aggression and spite kinda guy rather than the warped, melancholic mood 'Gate' issues forth from its corpsepainted maw.

In closing, it's a Xasthur CD. Chances are, reading this review, you know exactly where you stand. If you like the bleak one-manned BM bands (i.e. pretty much everyone with whom Xasthur has shared a split or Burzum, whose 'Black Spell of Destruction' is covered), you'll dig this. As for me, I'll take my black metal with a side of Blashyrkh, thanks.

Standout Tracks

   Suicide in Dark Serenity
   Kingdom of Burning Crucifixions
   Cursed Be the Memory of Light