Avantgarde Music: Thaw + Nahar + Progenie Terrestre Pura + Asofy

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Reviews by Jason Guest

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Established in 1994, Milan-based label Avantgarde Music have gone through thick and thin. Despite the unending challenges that running a label brings, favouring quality over quantity, owner Roberto Mammarella has long taken it upon himself to bring to us music that he believes in. And so below are four releases that are testament to his devotion to delivering quality music to audiences worldwide.

  • Thaw – S/T
  • Nahar – The Strange Inconvenience
  • Progenie Terrestre Pura – U.M.A.
  • Asofy – Percezione

 

Thaw – S/T

Poland’s Thaw makes their full length début with an album that is nothing less than stunning, pushing black metal into the penumbra between music, sound, and art to create something that, while raw and primitive at its core, is innovative and unendingly impressive. After the ambient opener ‘The Gate’s maze of soft and snarling textures, Thaw combine the majestic grandeur of black metal with reverberating atmospherics, shadowy ambiences and condensed brutality. Interwoven with cavernous shadings that loom overhead, the album has a serene sense of dread that circles above us, perpetually threatening to crash down. Ominous to the core, the album grinds against the reverberating vocal lines that dissolve into ferocious riffs and icy, isolating chambers. And if ever a track title were forever to be defined as the most apt then it’s closer ‘Under The Slag Heap’. At seven and a half minutes, this leaden slab of reinforced concrete makes for an immense conclusion to what is simply an incredible album.

Thaw

9 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. The Gate
  2. Ancestors
  3. Divine Light
  4. Kiara
  5. World’s Grave
  6. Hunted Prey
  7. Under The Slag Heap

 

Nahar – The Strange Inconvenience

French duo Nahar’s blackened doom metal is a journey through dank and odious catacombs, an unending underground maze of constricting shafts and expansive, bottomless hollows. Subtle roars echo in the distance, cacophonous chords burn with ire, drums and cymbals crash with colossal might, and despair resounds around the icy waters underground. Whispered dialogue, enigmatic synth sounds, and astral ephemera swirl around what is simultaneously dismal and uplifting. Labyrinthine, the atmospherics of each of the six tracks are as unique as they are compelling and seductive. While the album may be divided into six tracks that bear their individual strengths, the album also works as a unit, a complete piece that is as subtle as it is crushing and as unsettling and disconcerting as it is liberating. Nahar’s second album, The Strange Inconvenience is alluring, hypnotic, evocative, devastating, gloomy and tortured; in short, magnificent.

Nahar – The Strange Inconvenience

8.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Grey Concrete… Comfort
  2. A Purifying Negativity
  3. D.M.T.
  4. Pessimist
  5. An Atavastic Manner
  6. Eléctric Equinox

 

Progenie Terrestre Pura – U.M.A.

The atmospheric and progressive black metal of Italy’s Progenie Terrestre Pura – or q[T]p as they like to be called – is tinted with a technological gloss, the ambient electronics and extended progressive passages simultaneously clashing with and complementing the darker aspects of their sound. Whilst bearing the aggressive and unfeeling, ice-cold harshness of black metal, it’s the progressive, electronic, and ambient elements of the album that come to the fore and bestow upon U.M.A. a substance and depth of multiple dimensions. Richly layered and texturally captivating, the soundscapes of sci-fi and a technologically-advanced futuristic vision against a technical and fierce backdrop, with U.M.A., their debut, q[T]p have made a very impressive beginning. The aural version of Tech Noir, the combination of and experimentation with musical styles makes for an intriguing listen. The duo of Eon[0] and Nex[1] have created an incredible album and one that must be experienced to be believed.

Progenie Terrestre Pura – U.M.A.

8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Progenie Terrestre Pura
  2. Sovrarobotizzazione
  3. La Terra Rossa Di Marte
  4. Droni
  5. Sinapsi Divelte

 

Asofy – Percezione

Album number two from Italy’s Asofy (and first full-length since 2001), Percezione opens with a desolate chord fading in, a harmony synchronizes with it, steady drums and a gentle arpeggio begin, and then, like a tramp screaming his drunken despair at the empty sky, Tryfar bellows a colossal yet brief salvo brimming in angst and despair. A deeply atmospheric and emotive work, Percezione’s black light atmospherics have a lightness about them that makes the darkened journey through its 48 minutes a curiously pained and cathartic one. Abundant in deep, dark, depressive tones, the atmospherics of Percezione are as oppressive as they are intimate to the point of asphyxiation and elation. Rest and revulsion intertwine into one sickening salvation as the album’s broad vistas continually evolve and Tryfar’s opulent instrumentation weaves in, out and through itself. Hypnotic and mesmerising rhythms, multi-layered and near-tangible textures, the album’s miasmic depths make for a mystical and evocative experience that prompts many a return. Highly recommended.

Asofy - Percezione

7.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Luminosità
  2. Saturazione
  3. Ombra
  4. Oscurità