Bekor Qilish – Throes of Death from the Dreamed Nihilism Review

I would rant about what exactly the phrase “avant-garde” means, but its evasive definition speaks for itself. You could slap anything with the phrase and get away with it. I could argue that Dr. A.N. Grier‘s love of the phrase “shut up” is avant-garde, that the man is the embodiment of art in all its brashness and brevity, and that art and the good doctor demands our attention and focus. Doom_et_Al‘s love of Deafheaven is avant-garde, as the accessibility of the iconic blackgaze act challenges the lines between ugliness and beauty, holding a mirror up our smug faces as we taunt and mock – we, the listeners, are black metal’s biggest joke. Finally, apparently, Bekor Qilish is avant-garde.

Consisting of Italian vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Andrea Bruzzone and company, Bekor Qilish offers its debut Throes of Death from the Dreamed Nihilism. While it toes the line between full-length and EP at twenty-eight minutes, it manages to embody really fun “Voidhanger-core” to a tee. Taking cues from labelmates Esoctrilihum, Thos Ælla, and Vertebra Atlantis, it’s a mind-boggling debut with plenty of thrashy black metal, wonky rhythms, plenty of dissonance, and otherworldly melodies floating above the fray. Furthermore featuring guest spots from veteran hard-hitters like Colin Marston (Gorguts, Krallice), Gabriele Gramaglia (Cosmic Putrefaction, Vertebra Atlantis), Samuele Boni (Landscape of Zeroes), Eugene Ryabchenko (Fleshgod Apocalypse), and Romain Goulon (Sadist, Necrophagist), it’s packed with tastefulness wildness and otherworldly insanity. However, failing to establish a voice of its own, Bekor Qilish’s debut feels like a tasty appetizer but little else.

With such a laundry list of contributors and the audacity to call it “avant-garde,” Bekor Qilish does live up to much of its hype. Tracks range from unrelenting to sprawling, a shapeshifting beast that consistently reflects the abstractness of its cover. Rhythms and time signatures feel straight outta Meshuggah or Dream Theater and the trident’s prongs of two guitars and bass attack the ears with swarming insanity in riffs and spastic melodies. The crunchy staccato riffs of “Wretched Dawn” and “Verminous Barrier” give way to gleefully confused head-banging, while the Behold… the Arctopus-esque wonky blasts of “Self-Destructed Destruction” and “Ocean of Malice” seem to mock second-wave grimness with whacky rhythms that undermine its kvlt behavior. Guests add to the tracks without stealing the show, injecting moods of scathing oddness or kickass energy into their respective spotlights. The two highlights that embrace abstract soundscapes wholeheartedly are “Wretched Dawn” and “Ocean of Malice,” which rely on dissonant and haunting melodic motifs that keep their movements coherent. Feeling at once evocative as well as loaded with catchy passages and memorable takes, they take the form of a nearly Imperial Triumphant free jazz-esque fluidity with otherworldly ramifications.

The biggest issue with Bekor Qilish is that the majority of Throes of Death… feels incomplete and just the sum of its parts – an appetizer rather than a whole meal. “Wretched Dawn” alone feels fully realized and absolutely lethal in its fusion of breakneck energy and haunting soundscapes,1 other tracks simply don’t hold up. Squelching awkwardly from one passage to the next with little rhyme or reason derails the hypnotic otherworldliness of “Self-Destructed Destruction” and “Total Infection,” while “Cryptic Hatred” and “Verminous Barrier” feel too short and lack appropriate fleshing in their frail sense of direction. Yes, this particular combination of sounds, Xoth-ian thrashiness, Imperial Triumphant jazzy dissonance, and Dream Theater-esque proggy complexity, is tasteful and rides the line between accessible and outlandish. However, it ultimately feels more like the sum of its parts than anything that takes its concoction to any groundbreaking heights.

Ultimately, while Bekor Qilish features immense potential, a powerhouse cast of characters, and a potential song of the year rounding out the pack, Throes of Death from the Dreamed Nihilism feels like a fork in the road. While it dips its many toes tentacles in the pools of blackened fury, cosmic atmosphere, wonky dissonance, thrashy riffs, shifty rhythms, and avant-garde sensibilities, each tendril falls just short of its influences. Don’t get me wrong, you will dig the hell out of this debut, and its punchy brevity makes this a ride worth taking again and again, but it nonetheless feels like it falls short of the potential Bruzzone packs. This is dope-ass avant garde, but will be even more dope down the road.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
LabelI, Voidhanger Records
Website: 2 abstract 4 the internet
Releases Worldwide: June 17th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. One of the most promising tracks of the year, honestly.
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