By Jonathan Smith
The debut demo by Toronto-based black metallers Thantifaxath is enough to make you’d wish you’d never given up your cassette player. It’s certainly an incentive to get it back. Given that it is technically a demo tape, the release is short and to the point, but it’s also worth repeated listens. Even though Thantifaxath don’t necessarily break any new musical or aesthetic ground, they do epic-sounding ambient black metal with cryptic lyrics well. Opening instrumental “Ten Thousand Years of Failure” is brief enough to set the mood without feeling excessive or corny, and it leads into the pummelling “Violently Expanding Nothing.” The ambient and occasionally orchestral-sounding flourishes make obvious Thantifaxath’s flair for the theatrical (a tendency reinforced by their performing in dark hooded robes). By the time closer “The Madness Into Which All Things Flow” comes around, Thantifaxath leave the listener feeling like they’ve had a small portion of an incredibly rich meal—satisfying and filling enough on its own but with a lingering desire to have more very soon. For a release that is in actual fact only about sixteen minutes, this demo manages to feel like a complete black metal narrative that flows from start to finish.
The cassette itself is all black (surprise!) with minimalist designs on its surface. The packaging is very basic but does contain a lyric sheet that illuminates the sparseness of Thantifaxath’s lyrics (the only spoken words in “Violently Expanding Nothing,” for example, are “My father died of cancer in your eyes/and I was born with no feelings”). All in all, it’s a nice little item that is worth its price and cost of shipping. This demo is a treat in and of itself, but also leaves one awaiting Thantifaxath’s next offering.
(Dark Descent Records)