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'Self' EP
(Burning World Records/ Consouling Sounds)
Out now

jools green

Jools Green

terzij de horde

Released on the back of a series of EPs and splits, the debut full length offering from Dutch five-piece Terzij de Horde is an interesting mix of ferocious Black Metal that has, at times, a skilfully discordant edge that opens out to an ambient post rock mood - a stark contrast that is attention grabbing to say the least.

Top this with powerful tortuous vocal screams that will have you squirming with unease. It's a challenging but worthwhile listen which has slight reminiscences of 'Deathspell Omega' contrasted against hints of 'Khanate':

The six track offering focuses on "The problem of self, with each track exploring different ways to live or fail to live with self and world, and the struggles these paths and strategies create: the blindness, suffering, desire for release, for the destruction of self and others, and the turning toward or away from life. Self as prison, self as a source of power, self as vessel for manipulation by outside forces, self as shield and as inner world, self as medium for Dionysian rapture, self as something to be overcome"

It is; "The rage of black metal is paired with a cathartic destruction as well as a contemplative, sometimes crawling melancholy. Instead of navel gazing or the worship of constructs, 'Self' is analysis forced. A cerebral celebration of liberation at all costs and a requiem for spheres rendered apart."

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I don't really have a favourite track, each has its own merits and can stand alone in its own right, all are equally well created and delivered. However judged as a complete entity the merit of the whole outstrips the various parts, there is also so much going on within each track you don't begin to take everything on board until the fourth or fifth listen.

Opening track, 'Absence' commences with intense fury that is almost overwhelming and is a track of extreme contrasts, one minute intense black and angry, particularly in the vocal department, the next, sparse and reflective. But it's this strong contrast, mentioned earlier, that makes it all the more powerful and also midway a dark melody breaks through.

'A Marriage of Flesh and Air' has more of straightforward Black Metal feel to begin, hauntingly intense riffing combined with angry, rasping, screaming vocals, that really add a lot to the mix, delivering the lyrical content with surprising clarity and definition, across all the tracks, without any loss of intensity.

This track does drop away midway, the mood and direction altering to a very melancholic one, but that intensity returns briefly at the close.

'Averoas' is slower and at times almost verging into the realms of doom. The vocals still have that same desperate intensity but take on an impressively deep aspect as the pace plummets further; midway the instrumentation becomes sparse and bleakly subdued, allowing the full harrowing nature of the vocal delivery to come to the forefront.

On 'Contre le Monde, Contre la Vie', great swathes of intense blackened riffing coarse beneath the angry vitriolic vocal delivery, again, contrasted against bleakly reflective passages. On the first there is a great guitar build that is punctuated by desperate screaming vocals, to that wall of riffing that really commands your attention, and the second eventually fades out to the close.

terzij de horde

A militaristic drum roll that continues as an unrelenting, pummelling delivery, precedes the wall of riffs that opens 'Geryon-See Extinguished the Light' which is only punctuated by an intense but haunting repeat. Along with the vitriolic vocal delivery, more deeper vocals re-emerge alongside the screams and as the tempo drops the drum roll returns with the rise once more in tempo.

Final track, 'Sacrifice - A Final Paroxysm' has a slower bleaker opener with a haunting section of lead work punctuated with precise drum beats before the pace elevates for the arrival of the vocals. That bleak quality remains throughout the track, even when the riffs change half way through and towards the end the instrumentation drops away, bringing the vocals again to prominence, before the final closing onslaught.

Even the artwork of 'Self' will raise discomforting thoughts, a stark imagery of an empty husk of an ant that has been consumed by the one of the parasitic cordyceps fungi (apparently there are over four hundred types) which:

"Appropriates the brains of whichever host they infect, to manipulate and effectively destroy its self-regulating features. Through this annexation, the ants become empty shells of what they once were, governed by destruction from within, imposed and irreconcilable."

You will never look at a mushroom in the same light again!

'Self' is a collaborative effort between Burning World Records, who will release a gatefold LP, Consouling Sounds releasing a CD edition and a cassette release by Tartarus Records. It's an engaging album that leaves you feeling shaken and with a great deal to think about, a powerful offering indeed.

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