Oh, how I’ve waited for this. I’ll never forget how blown away I was a few years ago when I was fortunate enough to come across Chthe’ilist and their mind blowing debut demo Amechth’ntaas’m’rriachth. Sounding something like a modern day interpretation of Finnish Death gods Demilich, Chthe’ilist have finally unleashed their debut album, and what can I say, it’s every bit as insane and off the wall as one could possibly expect – and then some. It felt like forever waiting for Le Dernier Crépuscule to drop, but now that it has, all other releases have taken something of a back seat, for it is extremely rare that an album like this comes creeping in.
After the eerie, key-laden introduction, “Into the Vaults of Ingurgitating Oblivion” kicks things off sounding a lot like if Demilich covered Disma, as catchy chords hang suspended amidst strange, gurgled vocals that are all too alien in nature, and brought together in best fashion possible with a climax of catacomb-inducing synth midway through the song that catapults this Lovecraftian juggernaut into the horrifying, all-too-subterranean netherworld of nightmares that a sane individual would ever dream of.
Indeed, right out of the gate, Chthe’ilist did not come to disappoint you, and they did not come to be merely a Finnish homage band either, as although the similarities to Demilich are clear, there are a lot of other influences brought to the table, and the end result is nothing short of grotesque, putrid and perfect. “Voidspawn,” for instance, comes at you with full on Death Metal might. Taking the notably jangly, strangely catchy riff set that Demilich laid forth some 20+ years ago, Chthe’ilist take things up a dozen notches or so with a towering production that brings forth ruin in the most terrifying of ways, and grandiose lead guitar closes the song out in an awe inspiring sort of way as it fades out and leaves the breathing room necessary for “Scriptures of the Typhlodians” to pick things up.
Label: Profound Lore
Slithering its way into your psyche, “Scriptures…” fades in from another dimension, with haunting synth and rising, rasping vocals before you’re slaughtered with an onslaught of explosive riffs and unpredictable variations in song structure that will leave your mind scrambled, yet utterly captivated by the intricate craft playing out before you. This song truly has everything you could possibly want from this band packed into a mere 6 and a half minutes: boundless, off the wall riffs, synth that lurches and enchants, vocals that make you tremble, and a solo that brings “Scriptures…” to its height before you’re bludgeoned one last time by nameless beings to completion.
It’s no surprise that the following track, “The Voices From Beneath The Well,” begins in complete darkness. With a title like that, you know going in that this song is going to be something else. After its introductory sounds evoke a watery tomb in the mind’s eye, Chthe’ilist begins their full scale riff assault with no nonsense. Flowing all too smoothly, “The Voices…” features some of the most straightforward material on the album, as you will have no problem banging your head to Chthe’ilist’s unique kaleidoscope of unimaginable atrocities. Also, I’ll just say that the bass on this song is particularly prominent and fucking awesome, as it really stands out and shines in the mix, giving “The Voices…” a kind of extra “umph” that I imagine will make this a favorite among many in the underground.
And once again, the transition to the next song is extremely fitting, as “Vecoiitn’aphnaat’smaala” kicks off with a bass-driven bang that introduces you to yet another glorious buffet of subtly shifting riffs that lead you headlong into the incomprehensible abyss as things come to a standstill two and a half minutes in, and you’re taken through a clean vocal passage that borders on spoken word alongside a creepy riff that takes you on a menacing journey, with twists and turns that, quite frankly, blew me the fuck away for the next minute and a half. There’s so much atmosphere and riff wizardry in this short burst alone you won’t know what to think, but this I can promise: you haven’t heard anything quite like it before.
It becomes almost hard to believe when “Tales of the Majora Mythos Part 1” begins that this beast of a record is almost over – but fear not, this closing track comes in at 13 minutes and is the kind of massive sendoff that befits Le Dernier Crépuscule. The first few minutes excel in building tension, with an array of sepulchral keys that loom and forebode and riffing mixed in before the keys come back, only to abruptly end with a corkscrew of riffing that launches “Tales…” into its most driven, fast section of the entire album around the 3:45-4 minute mark – it’s incredibly tough sounding and really just flat out rules.
But as one would expect, this is in itself a buildup of sorts for a song of this length, as Chthe’ilist slow things down and introduce more of that strange, clean vocal gospel into the mix that comes across like the ghost of H.P. Lovecraft returning one last time to narrate what might be the best nameless horror-inspired album to ever be released. What follows forth is a descent into madness. As the blasts come back into play and the riffs spiral out of control once more, Chthe’ilist end their megalithic affair with a punishing, hair-raising cacophony of extremity, each member going full throttle, reaching a kind of apex that ends things appropriately in its utter incomprehensibility. The brilliance of this record cannot be understated. Even fans that aren’t keen on Demilich or other “weird” Death Metal will enjoy this album, for it is a mash up of finely tuned elements that each have their place and always come into play at exactly the right time with maximal impact. This isn’t an album you wrap your mind around; it’s an album that wraps around you, and takes your cognizance far off course – beyond all that is tangible.