Thantifaxath – Void Masquerading as Matter (2017) REVIEW

Photo by Nathan Mills

Though this mysterious avant-black Canadian trio is often described as discordant and strangely dissonant, the more I listen to their discography the clearer the larger compositional picture becomes. Cohesion might escape less mysterious modern extreme metal ‘guitarscapers’ like those of Pyrrhon and Bufihimat, bands that are quite literally discordant compared to Thantaxifath. They’ve found a way to remain abrupt and unpredictable while still creating modernist, alluring pieces that hold improving musical value compared to say Krallice or the hideously evolving Liturgy. As off-kilter as ‘Void Masquerading as Matter’ seems during its peak intensity, they’re still writing palatable songs each with distinct themes.

I wouldn’t blame folks for shirking off the more technical side of black metal. Personal outsider music based in atmospherics and philosophy that celebrates anti-social integrity doesn’t often translate well into technical, ‘showy’ musicianship. Thantifaxath are able transcend that flashy, dick-twirling sense of showmanship by simply choosing notes for impact and not for show. The inner workings of tracks like “Self Devouring Womb” are incredibly composed pieces that rely on effect rather than pompous fiddling; They are a Penderecki among the usual Beethoven-isms of extreme metal. It is dark and complex music that allows for effortless listening despite its density, though it might not hold much more value than a cinematic score without any true rock-based structures.

The longest and most atmospheric track on the EP “Cursed Numbers” fades in and out of wild scales and runs that evoke images of endless waves of crawling spiders and a sort of descent into madness before fizzling towards the final act of the record that gets a few dings from me. As a 32 minute 3-song EP full of complex extreme metal I really felt like ‘Void Masquerading as Matter’ was a complete and effective short listening experience, so adding on the 7+ minute title track, an ambient/choral piece that evolves into a 70’s Italian horror movie soundtrack just feels disparate. No matter how appropriate and interesting the ambient piece is, it doesn’t improve the play of the EP. This might only apply to me because I often listen to a record on repeat 5-10 times throughout a day and these things begin to wear on me. Spooky ghost sounds aside… Thantifaxath remain one of the most inspired and forward thinking black metal projects out there. If this is the direction of their future releases they’re on track to being one of the most important extreme metal bands of the decade.


Artist Thantifaxath
Type EP
Released November 24, 2017
BUY/LISTEN on the Dark Descent Bandcamp! Thantifaxath on Metal-Archives

Strobing panic increases. 3.75/5.0

Note: Sample the 2nd track HERE until the album is released digitally.