Arkheth - Twelve Winter Moons Comes the Witches Brew   [Transcending Obscurity Records - 2017]

Arkheth are an experimental Black Metal band from Orange, New South Wales in Australia, formed in 2001. Twelve Winter Moons ... is only their third full length album during that time, and their first in eight years. Arkheth consist of one man, multi-instrumentalist Tyrone 'Tyraenos' Kostitch, who plays all of the instruments himself. This may or may not have some bearing on the large gaps between releases, however finding time to record an entire album on your own in between the day to day grind must prove incredibly difficult. Especially when itís an album as involved and bonkers as this jazzy, psychedelic slice of experimental Black Metal genius.

Ok, letís get down to the music. The album opens with the track Trismegistus, the first sound we hear are the ambient sounds of torture, chains clank, cogs turn and there is the faint sound of someone sobbing. Melodic Black Metal riffs cut across the ambience, and some fantastic keyboards runs play across the riffs adding extra textures and creating something that goes way beyond the term Black Metal. The break downs in the track are progressive and jazzy, and the overriding influence (at least in my head) is Gong as a lone saxophone floats over top of the psychedelic miasma that has enveloped the track.

Dark Energy Equilibrium is up next, and after a brief riff laden opening it settles into a more reflective, atmospheric sounding track, with more of that ominous background ambience that opened the album. The whole track is dripping with menace, right up until the final couple of minutes when it becomes something quite different for the final run. One thing that went through my head at the time was, it sounds like Kenny Gís Black Metal side project. Even more bizarrely, this is a good thing.

Where the Nameless Ghouls Weep is up next,  and it starts off sounding like an off kilter doom metal track, imagine the results of Electric Wizard listening to Sigh after a bucket load of bad acid and youíll get the picture. By the end of the track it has descended into a psychedelic swamp of occult ramblings and the product of esoteric psychoactive experimentation.

The only way to describe A Fool Who Persists in his Folly is to use the term Avant Garde Black Metal Jazz. This off kilter madness takes in all that is progressive, psychedelic, symphonic, and jazzy and mixes it with Black Metal to create something that is at times dark and menacing and at other times beautiful and melodic. A Place Under the Sun is the albumís closer. Beginning like metalís humble genesis in the track Black Sabbath with the sounds of a storm, a slow Black metal style riff cuts across the sounds of rain and thunder. There is a decidedly shoegazey feel to the track, the clean vocals and the slow riff creating that sort of atmosphere before the track descends into some sort of odd Black Metal Lounge Jazz for itís conclusion, as saxophone and piano play over the top of distorted guitar riffs.

Twelve Winter Moons Comes the Witches Brew is an LSD drenched Avant Garde Black Metal nightmare, that manages to find great beauty in its darkness. Reminiscent at times of Ihsahnís solo work, and Japanese progressive Black Metal Masters Sigh this album also delves headlong into similar territory to legendary LSD explorers Gong. The album is a triumph of experimentation and genius like musicianship, a psychedelic miasma of influences that deserves to be heard by everyone with an interest in music that goes beyond a single genre. Come the end of 2018 I am sure this will feature heavily in top ten of the year.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Darren Charles