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Xasthur - Subliminal Genocide [Hydra Head - 2006]

Xasthur firth album Subliminal Genocide is rich with Burzum black metal grimness mixed with post rock and more traditional metal elements. Experimental touches, winter grim licked clear guitar work, and almost a grimy horror movie soundtrack vibe in places. Most of the time the pace is slow and soupy like dragging ones self through grey snow, often the pace wondered towards mid pace, but never really anything too speedy.

It seems this is all about painting an epic and mournful atmosphere-  it tries to light in one minds landscapes of snow licked forest, crashing Norse shores, calls to malevolent black gods. Though this seems to suck me back again and again- it sounds too nice for itís own good in places- the riffs and melodies  too tuneful, the playing also seems too perfect . The production  is too clea and offten as if there trying to get that lo-fi Black metal feel in a studio or worst still added the muffled grim atmosphere on afterwards. I guess itís going to appeal to those who enjoy epic Black metal, but with a  slightly feel of enactment like those guys who go out at weekends and dress up as civil war armies and run around pretending to be royalist and roundheads.

Enjoyable enough but a little to well cooked to be a classic, maybe a like a Hollywood remake of true black metal classic, by an up and coming indie director. No matter how hard they try itís just feels somehow not quite right and somehow synthetic. Though all the elements are here, it just falls short. All that said it does seem to keep call me back to its dark though sacrine charms. But really when I need a real grim hit, I think Iíll return to the old masters.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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