Thralldom - A Shaman Steering the Vessel of Vastness
Profound Lore Records
Experimental Ambient, Black Metal
7 songs (34:47)
Release year: 2006
Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Like the roar of some strange beast trapped deep underground, the now sadly defunct Thralldom were a well-kept secret by those in the know. The New York-based band, consisting of future Unearthly Trance frontman Ryan Lipynsky along with the mysterious Jaldagar, made a form of noisy Blackened Metal that scours the consciousness like a knife, subtle usage of samples and electronica making for an unnerving album that twists black and noise into a single, thoroughly nasty experience. It’s one of those unique releases that really depends on the listener to make their own interpretation, constantly keeping you on your toes, twisting and buckling back on itself – the title really describes it rather well, the esoteric elements mixed deep into the vast black vessel. Despite the experimental tag, this is as Black as hell; you can clearly hear influence from the old Norwegian legends like Darkthrone. Thralldom, however, make music for those who live in unhealthy urban environments rather than the forest, savage, ferocious music at war with everything and everyone simultaneously. The obvious comparison is The Axis Of Perdition, although I’d offer Blut Aus Nord’s The Work Which Transforms God or some of Khanate’s material as a closer example, Thralldom taking a different yet similar approach.

Opening track Anticipation Of An Obituary features solemn percussion and grinding noise, distant distorted vocals echoing like some radio transmission from a nuclear wasteland. Quantum Frost follows, grandiose riffing joining the aural scrum to create a kind of hellish symphony, Anaal Nathrakh gone Post-Industrial. There’s a perverse catchiness that pops up around the three-minute mark, a recognisable groove making itself known and giving the song the feel of a militaristic march, and although it fades into ambience towards the end, the horror returns. None of the tracks are weak individually, although the album does work best as a whole. It’s hard not to be at least a little freaked out by the intense Only The Dead Speak The Truth with its repeated backing flourish, or the even noisier The Wolf Will Never Die, which approaches an aggressive drone sound with its wall-of-sound riffing. It’s a very varied listen, however, so don’t expect anything monotonous – the following track Ultra-Extinction has a strange lounge jazz feel, whilst Narrow Road takes a oddly bluesy path, deep, repeated melodies with backing mumbled vocals unsettling you suitably before the final wrenching rumble of The Mentu Dynasty. This is possibly the most straightforward and oddest track on the album at once, initially seeming like your typical low-fi black metal before the repeated, almost Noise Rock riff becomes discernable through the fog. It suddenly switches partway through into a thudding frantic speed, dying a sudden death and leaving you utterly confused. Albums like this are made for a special sort of Black Metalhead, and well, we know who we are.

Killing Songs :
Quantum Frost, The Wolf Will Never Die, Ultra-Extinction, The Mentu Dynasty
Goat quoted 83 / 100
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