It’s hard to know exactly what to say about a record when the band itself provides a more succinct – and honest – characterization of it in their own promo language than I ever could have:
“The second Teitanblood album corrects the misconception about death metal being music. Mortui vivos docent.”
Well, there you have it. Clearly, intellectualization is completely redundant when writing about a band like the Spanish death/black duo Teitanblood. You either get it, or you don’t. You’re either a glutton for black, death, and black/death punishment, or you’re not. If you are, I promise you that this album will make you feel. It’s one hour and eight minutes of crude, obliterative sonic savagery that might give you a nosebleed if you play it too loudly. Even more sane individuals who are repelled by this kind of monochrome black/death primitivism must stand in awe of Teitanblood’s grim vision.
If it wasn’t clear enough already, I’m all up on this bandwagon. However, it must be noted that Teitanblood are sternly serious in their takedown of the death metal genre, and they waste no time making sure the weak (or psychologically healthy, if you prefer) wash out within seconds of the opening track. “Anteinferno” immediately careens into a caustic blitzkrieg of ride-heavy blasting, impossibly detuned guitar noise and strangled growling, and the effect is thrillingly nightmarish. Teitanblood take an exhaustingly maximalist approach to the subgenre’s reductive compositional philosophy, and it doesn’t let up once.
Even the quieter moments are decidedly disquieting. Disturbing samples that evoke (or very well might actually be) the nightmarish works of the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki are injected throughout the record, elevating the atmosphere into even more obscure territories than that of their already obtuse black/death peers. The disorientating choir that opens “Sleeping Throats of the Antichrist” doesn’t just set a creepy mood – it summons forth the ensuing riff carnage, sounding like a field recording of the summoning of an ancient Lovecraftian hellbeast. The 16-minute long marathon of a closing track “Silence of the Great Martyrs” even leaves its remaining 9-minutes to ghoulish pseudo-Gregorian chanting that’s effective enough to stand on its own as an eerie ambient piece.
Death may ostensibly trudge through its lengthy running time with all the grace of a drunken Revenge, but Teitanblood have a secret weapon that places them above many of their bestial cousins: riffs. Remember those? For all of Death’s dedication to making total non-music, moments of killer riffage suggest that, thankfully, they may be giving themselves a little too much kvlt credit. The aforementioned “Sleeping Throats of the Antichrist”, despite dealing chiefly in noisy barbarism, takes healthy breaks from the record’s mission statement during the pulsing groove at its beginning and especially the sloggy, addictive riff at around 9:16. “Cadaver Synod” similarly sprinkles instances of relative intelligibility. Cacophony does ultimately reign supreme on Death, but Teitanblood wisely elect to provide some semblance of organization in their song-writing, focusing the madness into something purposeful, and – dare I say it – musical.
Of course, the key word here is “relative”. Teitanblood still provide no wiggle room whatsoever for those who aren’t used to – or simply can’t stand – this style, making Death unlikely to win over any naysayers. But this is probably a moot point anyway. Teitanblood is more than successful in their quest to make quality primitive extreme metal that has no reason not to excite those who prefer this kind of ignoble anti-music.