Split Premiere: Microcosmys/La Torture des Ténèbres – The Gods Themselves
Does the state of the world have you down? Tired of living out all those dystopian novels you read as a kid? Well don’t come here for relief, then, because we have a killer Asimov-inspired black metal split sure to leave you even more despondent and derelict than before. Today I’m pleased as hell to bring you two wild sci-fi takes on an apocalyptic future, courtesy of microcosmys and La Torture des Ténèbres. Abandon all hope, ye, and enter here.
Not merely a nod to Asimov’s literary prowess, The Gods Themselves shares its title with one of the preeminent sci-fi storyteller’s most captivating tales. Asimov’s book concerns itself with parallel worlds and man’s perpetual greed for resources and dominance. The story was harrowing when it first appeared in the 70s; today it feels almost prescient as we bear witness to global power structures cracking the earth and inching us ever closer to a worldwide heat death.
Though the bands clearly use their own creative licenses to dabble with the subject matter – namely the cold mercilessness of the void and man’s wanton, rapacious thirst for destruction – what’s most amazing is the implicit way in which the material manifests itself in their music. Listening to The Gods Themselves, it really feels as though two competing factions of man from parallel worlds are vying to be the first to make the other’s reality go nova. It’s an approach we’ve seen other bands, such as Mitochondrion and Auroch, pull off to great effect, and I can only hope this bodes well for the future of this format.
In the dual reality of The Gods Themselves, microcosmys is surely the advanced form of life subsumed by its own technological conquests post-singularity. Theirs is a black metal style most akin to Wolok or Rotting Heaven. “odeen” and “tritt” feature bizarrely amplified tremolo riffs swirling like satellite static amid a swarm of tinny, machine-like binary blasts clearly trying to communicate some message of destruction. As if that wasn’t enough for the sci-fi lovers in the house, “dua” is built around a series of synthesizer notes that conjure up images of alien life attempting to contact humanity from the cold galactic expanse. microcosmys’ side of the split feels chaotic, jarring, unearthly; the riffs and blasts devolve over time into a crumbling swirl of chaos on the last track. The effect is one of entropy taking hold on an ascetic black metal band, with the entirety of a universe paying the price as machine beeps and boops implode inward upon shrieks of terror and stuttering, unpredictable riffs.
La Torture des Ténèbres
If microcosmys is the sound of a galaxy fallen victim to a data black hole, La Torture des Ténèbres is the sound of a cosmos in the throes of a very human chaos. This half of the split’s two tracks, “Next Stop; Virgo City” and “We Should Have Left It on the Country Station” place the guitars claustrophobically up front in the mix and smother those riffs in a thick shroud of tortured feedback. Periodically, little ripples of drums and horrifyingly agonized vocals bubble up to the surface of the sonic vortex, but the violence is absolute and unremitting. “We Should Have Left It on the Country Station” especially is a wall of aural warfare, a loud track that wants you to witness the collapse of all societies at once as man presses the big nuclear button and cries out in one voice.
Two different takes on one ruin, two unique sounds, one binding vision of a future that feels uncomfortably relevant. Plug in and lose yourself below.