Bekor Qilish - Throes of Death From the Dreamed Nihilism [I, Voidhange - 2022]
Bekor Qilish is a one-man progressive black metal project that defies the stereotypes of bedroom black metal with high quality production, impressive musicianship and diverse, ambitious songwriting. Released on experimental black and death metal-focused Italian label I, Voidhange Throes of Death from the Dreamed Nihilism is the project's debut album.
Pictured wearing an Emperor t-shirt in his profile photo, Italian-born Andrea Bruzzone takes heavy influence from the band's later, more progressive period, particularly the Prometheus album, and takes the complexity and experimentalism even further into angular non-repetitive realms as explored by the likes of Mick Barr and Colin Marston (who appears on this album). The closest comparison for the music to be found here is Krallice.
The startling density and inventiveness of Bruzzone's music cannot be overstated. As soon as I feel I've begun to get a grasp of the style being played, we enter a new realm entirely. Where first the tonalities are grounded solidly within metal, later on there are ambient, shoegaze influenced and even uplifting sounding sections where consonance is fully embraced. Bruzzone's progressive tendencies extend far beyond redundant dark aesthetics and harmonic minor writing.
The full album is only twenty-eight minutes, but seems to contain an entire world. With touches of classic prog synth work, it is something of a far flung science fiction adventure. The gorgeous ambient pads at the end of opener "Cryptic Hatred" make it one of my favorite pieces.
The drum sequencing, while clearly not a live drummer, is never distractingly artificial in a way that detracts from the music. The tone of the samples chosen is warm and not overly sharp or fatiguing, and excessive compression is avoided, which allows the guitar to take center stage. Bruzzone's guitar sounds wonderful, the thick crackle and crunch of the gain never muddying the extensive tonal content.
Bruzzone's vocals are not particularly emphasized. His chosen voice is a raspy classic black metal sound similar to Ihsahn or Shagrath. His vocals mostly serve to cement the rhythm. I hardly notice when they are missing for several minutes.
The album finishes with a rather cinematic use of ambient guitar, drifting off into the distance for several minutes. The music is above all emotional and visionary, a landscape the listener may traverse across, belonging to an astral realm of consciousness. Unlike many complex extreme metal albums, there is little chance the whole recording will pass without the listener understanding the energy or the emotion. Though the writing is dense, there are strategic moments of space and breath. Overall, Bruzzone's emotional messages are more legible than the esoteric and incomprehensible writing of Mick Barr, which often seems intentionally convoluted.
With projects like this, I am thrilled to see the form of absurdist and alien technical black/death metal as performed by Krallice or Behold... The Arctopus blossoming into a complete genre. Andrea Bruzzone has made an astounding effort for Bekor Qilish with this album, which is so fluent with its writing that all the complexity never once feels gratuitous, something I would not say of many progressive groups, even ones I enjoy greatly. Put simply Throes of Death from the Dreamed Nihilism stands as one of my top metal albums in recent memory.Josh Landry