Chthe’ilist Pry Open The Passage Into The Xexanotth
CH’UCK A CH’UBBY OVER TH’IS NEW CHTHE’ILIST TR’ACK!
In case you fucked-off early last Friday you may have missed that everyone’s favourite Lovecraftian luminaries Chthe’ilist sprung a surprise 2-track release of cosmic chaos on the world. And it’s pretty much all a few of us have been spinning since. Consisting of one track from the recording sessions for 2016’s immense debut Le Dernier Crépuscule, and a cover of a classic Crematory cut (the original Swedish band, not that fake German cover-act), Passage Into The Xexanotth is a brief but no less welcome offering from the Canadian weird-death wonks.
Not being as well-versed in the mythos as some, I’m not the one to tell you which gruesome grimoire the track’s lyrics draw from, but what I can tell you is that Tougas and co. bring everything that made Le Dernier Crépuscule a standout success to the table on ‘Passage Into The Xexanotth’. The band’s take on an arcane combination of some of death metal’s most recondite recordings makes for a truly amazing and ultimately unique soundscape. The riffing takes the tumult of Timeghoul and the dement of Demilich, but rather than amble around a theme in an almost aimless fashion, it funnels the flow into a solid stream which feels far more deliberate and satisfyingly ‘song-like’ than either of the one-album wonders’ work.
Structurally the song is quite a bit more linear than you may expect for the style, which definitely helps lend it the aforementioned instant accessibility. However, it’s the mood evoked around the half-way point from the introduction of the sinister synths (think Phlebotomized or those of their Chthulu-cohort in Catacomb) and Phil Tougas’ otherworldly leads that transcend the track beyond the corporeal and into the cosmic. To hear the guitar solo tone alone is worth the price of admission, as the only thing which comes close that I’ve heard in recent memory is that of Cosmic Atrophy. Stellar stuff! If all that wasn’t enough, the Crematory cover betters the original. Although, I did sort of expect a slight funeral doom divergence at some point based on that rad Thergothon-ass logo change, but I am a suggestable simpleton. Anyway, here are some toilet testimonials from people who actually know what they’re talking about –
It seems like only 2.5 years ago that Chthe’ilist released their outstanding debut Le Dernier Crépuscule. Wait, it was 2.5 years ago? Wow, that feels like decades ago in this new hellscape world we’ve found ourselves in. Well, 2.5 to 25 years later, depending on who you ask, we finally have some new music out of these crazed Canucks. As an EP containing one new song and a cover, it’s a bit of a tease, but it’s a DAMN good tease. Written even before Le Dernier Crépuscule, the titular ‘Passage into Xexanotth’ sounds like it could easily be slotted into the band’s lone full length. It contains everything you love about Chthe’ilist, from the frog vocals to bouncy, Seinfeld bass to the brilliant and creative leads (the Iommi-esque doubled up, slightly staggered solos are especially inspired). The other half of this EP is a cover of Crematory’s (the good Swedish one, not the German one trying to guilt you into buying tickets) “Beneath the Crypts.” I’m not gonna lie, I like it more than the original version. Chthe’ilist have taken it, cleaned it off and beefed it up. There’s a sense of energy and urgency coursing through that just doesn’t come across in the muddled original and it really gives “Beneath the Crypts” new life. Oh, and most importantly of all: How about that Thergothon style logo? All in all, fantastic stuff here but it’s gotten me quite impatient for more.
Aeons ago, in the year 2015, Randall Thor suggested I check out a (relatively) obscure Canadian death metal band called Chthe’ilist and their “god-tier” demo Amechth’ntaas’m’rriachth. On this account, Randall Thor was no fool; the demo certainly delivered on the weird 90s death metal goodness my deviant heart craved, and the debut LP that dropped just a year later only served to seal my ruin. As if to spite me, Chth’eilist – now a four piece thanks to the recording debut of funky bassmeister Antoine Daigenault – call back through the shifting sands of time to their since transcended-cult status with an excellent croaking, noodling 7″ of eldritch aggression. “Passage into the Xexanotth” feels a bit more linear than the sprawling work on Le Dernier Crépuscule, easily making the nearly seven-minute run time slip past you in a flash. It’s a welcome addition to the band’s growing canon, as is the deliciously perverse cover track, and Daigenault’s delicate (ha!) tinkling on the keys lends the EP an air of mysticism throughout. Perhaps “god-tier” isn’t quite the right description for this band; that they can reincarnate two older pieces of music with such bilious aplomb hints at an antediluvian knowledge and skill far more sinister.
Pick up Chthe’ilist’s Passage Into The Xexanotth on digital or 7″ from Profound Lore on Bandcamp.
“As I come home after a hard day of labor in the castle court, I discover a note with my brother’s handwriting on the kitchen table, saying he is leaving the village for good. The villagers tell me they have last seen him riding to the east, urging me not to venture into the Ve’coiitn region at night, as there are talks of something foul and unnatural brewing in these parts of the country. I decide to ride east, not taking heed of the townfolk’s warnings. While riding into the plains of Ve’coiitn, I take notice of the scarce vegetation on the fields, as if the land itself is rotting. A distant, echoing scream of terror breaks the nightly silence and echoes across the plains out from the distant woods. Because my curiosity gets the best of me, I dismount my horse and decide to investigate the source of the sound. As soon as I wander off the main trail and into an off-road path, defeaning silence falls upon the land. Neither the sound of crickets nor the sighing of the soft evening breeze can be heard in the dead of the night. Reaching a clearing, I can just barely see a great wall of dead, withered trees through the mist, that stretches out to the horizon. I think it may be just my imagination, but it seems like the trees moved aside from each other at some point to form a path. Surely the gods have abandonned this place. Is it because even themselves fear what lies deep in the woods? Lost in my own thoughts, I barely notice the mist finally dissipating, revealing a passage through the forest and a wooden sign pointing towards the wood’s entrance. On the sign are primitive carvings, perhaps the same archaic calligraphy that ancient men of the Amechth’ntaas tribe used in their scriptures for hexing rituals. I know of it because my grandfather, Edward Davenport, created a lexicon to decipher this dialect and taught me some of it. That was a few years before our former neighbor found his lifeless & eyeless body in our home next to another strange book. The carvings on the sign read as “The Pass of Xexanotth”. Right next to the sign, I find an abandoned sword and a lantern, confirming my suspicion that my brother came through here. By the gods, why? Why here and why now?
A corridor of rotten, contorted trees lies before me, stretching beyond the horizon as I venture into the howling dark. Draped in mystic haze, the narrow path lies barren, the silence soon broken by the ruminations and laments of the trees. Vivid are the memories of the sound of winds wailing through dead leaves, almost covering up the echoing, sickening sounds of mastication. Delving deeper into the woods, the corridor of dead trees grow narrow. The scent of rotting bark now unbearable as the bowels of the Xexanotth swallows me. Wallowing through membranes of digestive secretions, I stand alone amidst a circle of deformed shapes. Piercing the shadows, the moonlight reveals decayed remnants of men melded…. into the trees ! Monoliths of flesh and wood rise before me and at my feet lie the faces of people I once knew, engraved into the soil. Absorbed as an offering, I join my kin in their eternal slumber…at one with the earth…