THANTIFAXATH are a band shrouded in masquerade and mystery, not just because of their hooded cloaks and anonymity but also because of their bleak yet utterly enjoyable sound. After blasting their way onto the black metal scene in 2014 with their debut Sacred White Noise, a warped twist on the atmospheric side of the genre, the band now return with another cascade of chaos but this time it’s a more concise blast of misery.
Sitting at only 36 minutes Void Masquerading as Matter is a shorter and more consumable affair than the band’s debut, partly because of the shorter run time but also for the much more precise riffing, giving us more hooks to drag us into the dark depths. The opening guitar on Self Devouring-Womb reminds of later Ihsahn work with its catchiness (for black metal). Whilst these guitar lines are more accessible there is an off-kilter feel to them almost delivering a Ben Weinman math tone at times as heard in the last minute of chaos from opener Ocean Of Screaming Scars.
This more accessible route leading to THANTIFAXATH‘s chaos doesn’t mean Void Masquerading As Matter doesn’t have some well done cerebral atmosphere building within it though. In fact, for its run-time it actually has a bit too much focus on interludes and suspense building. For the high quality and exquisiteness of the ferocious black metal blasts on this EP, there is a bit too much padding around it. You really just want to sink your teeth into more aggression but before you know it the eponymous final track has rolled around. It’s often a good thing to be left wanting more but when the closing song is a whole seven minutes of soft choir vocals with no pay off it does feel like you’ve been cheated out of a track. Even if they do sound like a brilliantly produced heard of wailing banshees, the build-up doesn’t go anywhere. One positive of this, however, is that you do feel the need to start the album again instantly just to get your next fix.
Whilst this EP is a bit of a tease, it’s brilliant moments excite you at the prospect of another release which will hopefully follow soon. For now, though THANTIFAXATH casually reminds you of their seemingly painful existence, haunt your soul with some of the finest rising black metal, then return to the void as quickly as they manifested.
Void Masquerading As Matter is out now via Dark Descent Records.