Teloch Vovin // I
Rating: 2.5/5.0 — Somewhere between adoration and vexation…
Label: Self Release
Release Dates: Out Now!
You know that scene in The Midnight Meat Train, just after the butcher’s death, the one where the conductor introduces Leon to those unholy reptilian creatures that live beneath New York City? Or maybe you’ll remember it as the scene where Leon’s tongue is ripped straight from his mouth and he’s told, you’re it, you’re the next butcher! When I think of Teloch Vovin, that’s the first place my mind travels to. They’re also from the seedy underbelly of New York and there’s nothing to say that their fetid, maniacal intent, the driving force behind their debut offering I, doesn’t hail from the same dank, dark otherworldly place as these elders [I think that means Times Square — Steel Druhm]. But I digress, Teloch Vovin caught my attention by citing their influences as those of the chaotic and musically bizarre Funeral Mist (side project to Marduk‘s front-man Mortuus) and similarly Gorgoroth with a backbone of Sabbath and the dark ambiance of Celtic Frost and/or Skitliv – damn of course I had to hear that!
The album opens up with “12/21/2012–1+2+2+1+2+0+1+2=11 (Including A Hymn to Apophis)”. I find it randomly amusing that this band of miscreants managed to edit down their album to a nice tidy 35 minutes and yet didn’t think to edit their track titles in the same fashion… why? The track uncoils in a fairly unassuming fashion, there’s some good, gentle rain to work its slimy, wet grip under your skin and you’re lulled into a false sense of calm. Mere seconds later all hell breaks loose – picture breaking storms, thunder, fire and brimstone which for some absurd reason freaks the fuck out of my cat. Plan of action – volume down low till the thunder passes, then as the slow dirge starts up and the bells kick in it’s full volume from there on out – I win! The main riff used in the track has a distinct Marduk feel with Pestis and Gemini’s tag team mixture of blood curdling, howling shrieks and heaving, vomitous growls having more of an experimental Funeral Mist or a sinister ‘you’ll never know what the fuck I’m saying‘ Gorgoroth feel.
The drum work across I borders on in-your-face and jarring in the slow marching sound-scape of Tunnels Part 1 (“An Entrance unto the Tunnuls ov Set-II Via Daath (333)” and “An Entrance unto the Tunnuls ov Set-IV Olahm Ha-Kliffot”) and pulled back and almost non-existent in “The Rite ov the Harvest… (Tunnels Part 2) …or that ov the Reaper’s Blade”. I realize that the band are trying to uphold their low-fi, unpolished, old-school we-don’t-give-a-shit feel, but a little less jarr effect and a little more consistency on the next release will go a long way towards getting Teloch Vovin‘s off-kilter hymns and rampages up to the levels of the greats I mentioned earlier.
Teloch Vovin have taken all their negativity, hatred, disgust and scorn-filled raw black metal and melded it with dark ambient abstract noises to arrive at a collection of tracks that flow almost organically from one to another. From the eerie toll of the bell, in “12/21/2012–1+2+2+1+2+0+1+2=11 (Including A Hymn to Apophis)” to the almost mechanical feel of “An Entrance unto the Tunnuls ov Set I) Daleth: An Entrance”. At times this weird blood drenched album leaves you disorientated and it’s difficult to tell where one idea ends and the next begins, but I think that’s kind of the point. As the track “Adoration/Vexation” goes, this is not meant to be a comfortable listen.
Giving I a rating was no easy task. On one hand it’s a debut album with some definite flaws, while on the other there’s something about the rawness, the energy and the unadulterated hate that makes me want to be up front watching this coven come together to really focus and unleash their negativity. Funeral Mist‘s Mortuus points out that “a band that claims to play black metal must always have Satanism and nothing but Satanism as the highest priority in their music and concept as well as in their personal lives and that neither the voice, nor the sound and musical style make a black metal band.” Teloch Vovin follow this to the letter, even going as far as drenching their album in sacrificial blood – That’s got to be worth at least an extra half point right! [No, not really — Steel “Rating Nazi” Druhm]