Iron Bonehead Promo Reviews: Black Cilice & Hic Iacet
We like Iron Bonehead Productions a lot around here. Have we ever mentioned that? They sent us some promos recently and we’ve really been enjoying them. In case for some dumb reason you don’t plan your entire life around the Toilet’s posting schedule for fear of overlooking something important, you can check out W.‘s collection of favorites right here (featuring Swarþ, Isabrut, and Death Karma). Today we turn the spotlight to my two picks. I hope you like them. Please like them.
BLACK CILICE – MYSTERIES
Iron Bonehead Productions – January 30 2015
Allow me to start this off with a bit of cautionary advice. This is some raw black metal. This is like eating steak tartare and listening to Nattens madrigal at the same time. If your poor, virginal ears just can’t handle it (or if you have taste or whatever), turn back now and take your exhausted Fisher Price microphone jokes with you. I wouldn’t blame you, but I’d insist that you’re missing out on something. Though I’m not entirely sure what it is. Dismantled, Mysteries is little more than a confusion of intentionally crude sounds and intentionally shoddy production – the guitar and drum tones are grating and feedback from one source or another frequently lifts its head through a ubiquitous static buzz. Mysteries has all the makings of a deadly headache. So why do I like it so much?
The sum is that Mysteries’ questionable parts harmonize with one another unexpectedly and extraordinarily well. The wall of sound into which they unify is a sharp earful at first, but when given time to gestate becomes moving; admittedly coarse, but undeniably resonant. Think Paysage d’Hiver. Darkly beautiful melodies rise and fall gently through indistinct layers of harsh reverb. The somewhat atypical vocal approach is largely responsible for tying things together, acting as an ambient backdrop rather than a driving force. They’re a far cry from harsh, generally emerging as an extended, undulant howl; I keep coming back to the sound of wind sighing through branches. They, like the rest of this album’s components, might seem inane if heard in solitary, but become something quite haunting in context.
It’s the swirling courtship of riffing, blasting, howling, and, yes, even feedback that makes Black Cilice so arresting. Mysteries effortlessly evokes the surreal, something many bands strive for and never accomplish. It’s spellbinding, and I can’t stop listening to it. Give it some time. Absorb it, and let it absorb you or whatever. Listen to the album’s first track “To Become” here.
HIC IACET – THE COSMIC TRANCE INTO THE VOID
Iron Bonehead Productions – January 30 2015
The mysterious Spanish dudes in Hic Iacet planted themselves in the soil of bestial black/death in 2011 with their demo Hedonist of Death, then drove their roots deeper in 2012 with Prophecy of Doom (7″). Now we have their debut full-length, The Cosmic Trance into the Void, which, according to the label, “displays a more dynamic, daresay transcendental Hic Iacet.” Personally, I wouldn’t say transcendental because I hate that stupid word. Instead I’ll say that Hic Iacet sounds like Neil deGrasse Tyson shared some of his LSD with Angelcorpse and started talking to them about, like, space and dimensions and stuff.
And it’s awesome. The Cosmic Trance into the Void rambles through 39 minutes of occult texture and shuffled tempos across the spectrum of death metal, black metal, and doom. As a stripped down act with a straightforward approach, Hic Iacet channels the arcane through the weirdness of their melodies more than anything else. Tendrilous riffs twist in unnatural ways and form strange patterns – the final riff in “Into the Bowels of the Absolute” breaks away from the blasting and opens a slow whirling portal to places unknown. It’s sections like that that make this album a “cosmic trance” more so than the somewhat strained esotericness of the monk-ish chanting/singing passages that crop up every so often, though the ends of the title track and album closer “The Catacombs of the Mandala” use them to great, mesmerizing effect.
Lest you assume it’s all just one big mystical circlejerk without substance, let me say that there’s no shortage of intensity – defer to “Mahakala,” one of the album’s headbanging highlights. The vocals help to keep things urgent. They’re no different from what’s typical of the genre – undecipherable grumbling echoing as if through damp, subterranean halls – but they’re a key player here; adding some variety to sections that might have otherwise worn out their welcome and adding some ugliness to sections that might have otherwise sounded impotent.
Hic Iacet have crafted an excellent debut here. The Cosmic Trance into the Void is an impressive offering of savage black/death metal with a dark, ceremonial pulse. I’m into it.