April 11, 2012

Averse Sefira - Advent Parallax (2008)

The nature of Evil is so poorly understood, particularly in the context of Black Metal and its forebears. The spectators have incredibly misgiven ideas about what makes one Evil and what behavior reflects it. Evil and cruelty are two different things, though they are constantly confused. A violent man is generally not so much Evil as he is angry at whatever pain life has delivered unto him. Being Evil does not mean to be without passion or compassion, but rather to have those qualities and motivations on one’s own terms rather than having them mandated by society or the church. Evil means we are masters of our own destiny. Evil is the courage to demand absolute measures to make this world one in which we wish to live. Evil is a rejection of moralism and post-moralism, and an adaption of a mixed code of conduct that may seem outwardly inconsistent but internally coherent. Evil is to choose the dark rather than to accept the light. We can smile, laugh, and even love, and this does not invalidate our nature. We find meaning in dark places and in dark practices. If this was not true then we would not make this music. Our passions show in our art and Evil is the fuel that drives it, the prime motivator. – Wrath Sathariel Diabolus 

Advent Parallax is a work of deconstruction and recombinance, a potent effervescence out of which is birthed a new paradigm. Deriving from such death metal pioneers as Immolation, Morbid Angel, and Deicide a dynamic understanding of arrangement and structure, complexity and confrontational dissonance, Averse Sefira establishes an original and redeeming archetype for black metal that is as regressively introverted as it is visionary, an essential hallmark for not only its respective genre but for the stagnant contemporary metal form as a whole. Advent Parallax is, as alluding to the artwork provided courtesy of Jos A. Smith entitled Machine for a Journey of Indeterminate Depth, a vehicle through which is explored both the past and present realities with an eye toward the potentialities for making actual a future that is a worthy successor to the creative and inventive spirit that fueled the celebrated works of its predecessors.

Indulging in the sonorous and sweeping ambient melodies of Pure Holocaust and the narrative formal organization of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas or the seminal works of Gorgoroth, Averse Sefira creates a dichotomy between chaos and harmony, allowing for the dispersal of the former in favor of the latter to provide both an avenue and a motivation for a contemplation upon the experience, in a state of emotional exhaustion that ultimately subsides only at the album’s conclusion. It is at this point that is ultimately provided the necessary room to breathe for true, substantial reflection. The work demands a period of silence upon completion to achieve its ultimate resolution. It is a resolution of unraveling the interweaving elements, the cacophony of cyclically surfacing and dissipating movements, which ebb and flow in accordance to the machinations of a greater thematic construct.

Accompanied by a healthy Necromorbus Studio production, the band sees their musical vision come alive more vibrantly than ever before, adapting certain modern production tendencies to create a powerful and crisp, yet cold sound that serves to highlight the melodic Immortal- and Burzum-esque guitar work of Sanguine Mapsama. Underscored by the suitably audible and nimble bass playing of Wrath Sathariel Diabolus and the more than competent drumming of The Carcass, each element of the music is heard with clarity and, more importantly, with purpose. Every instrument is integral at all turns, even at rest, never merely playing along unless it is in service to the song, as in “Séance in a Warrior’s Memory”. Also of note in this song is the evolution of the band’s usage of contrast in tone, in the juxtaposition between clamor and tranquility, employing silence to evoke the onset of an alteration of mood within the framework of the song, rather than as an interlude or bridging two songs together. This brief moment of serendipitous reflection acts as a calm before the storm, as the song erupts with greater malevolence and renewed intensity afterward, the  original denouement ultimately proving false.

One of the more rewarding aspects of the album is that it works toward a unison of musical and lyrical consistency. It is an essentially indivisible syncretism that is at once sincere and manipulative, both servant to the same master. At the same time genuinely embracing the aesthetic relevance of Hermetic Qabalah and various other occult, magickal, and mythological spheres, Averse Sefira simultaneously turns against itself the dogmatism attached to each branch of superstition and thereby causes its own extinction.

Contrary to some reports, Averse Sefira is not a part of the orthodox black metal genus, but is rather a non-theistic entity, utilizing mythic irony to assault false beliefs. In direct contrast to the orthodox movement, it is the desire of the band not to invert traditional beliefs, but rather to abolish them. It is the stated mission of the band for their music to express to their audience the message of weakening the stranglehold of religious occupation in its world, primarily the power that the religious right holds in America. States Wrath Sathariel Diabolus:

The ‘dirty work’ we have in mind is for people to think goD out of existence. I have grown tired of impotent band T-shirts that spout ‘blasphemous’ slogans about killing the nazarene or violating nuns, etc. In the end, such items still acknowledge the presence of the christian icons. I agree these ideas must be destroyed, but as I said, if we who oppose christianity refuse to acknowledge its existence, then it will lose some of its strength and influence. This is the idea we wish to express to our listeners.

In an effort to accomplish this, the band makes use of imagery from various areas of faith in their lyrics, in doing so allowing them to be viewed as the pure concepts that they represent. They expose these concepts as the logical absurdities that they are, portraying “god as a lost idea, at best an insane and loveless being in accordance with how man devised him”. It is only upon the serpent’s path that divinity exists, and that is the divinity within one’s self. To the ordered chaos of nature is homage paid for what it has birthed, not through divinity, but rather as a result of the chaotic randomness of the universe. It is the relationship between man and nature, and the nature of man, that has merited the most profound utterings on their latest work, from “Viral Kinesis”, or the human experience:

The Mind says, ‘I am not of the Body. When the Body ceases, I will be set free. I direct the Shell to move.’ 
The Soul says, ‘I am not of the Body. When Death comes, I shall reunite with the Void. I am the Engine of the Vessel.’ 
The Spirit says, ‘I am not of the Body. If I die, there is no longer reason to Exist. I am the fuel that fills the Form and gives it Power.’ 
The Body says, ‘It is only through Me that you are realized. I am that which makes you known. Without Me, you have no Home.’ 
The Fire says, ‘I am your Master. I govern you all as Passions. The Body melts at my touch. The Spirit burns at ignition. The Soul ashes at recession. The Mind an inferno at my stoking.’

For a band whose message may very well be frequently lost upon the casual listener through the cryptic nature of their lyrics, this is perhaps as clear a statement as any the band has made. Man is made up of the Mind, Body, Soul, and Spirit, yet each is governed by various Passions, equated with Fire, among other things a universal symbol for destruction. It is the plight of man to perpetually wage war with the Passions, physically, mentally, intellectually, and emotionally. At times it is requisite to expel one’s own Passions, cathartically alleviating one symptom or another from the human condition, both for the producer and for anybody else that wishes to engage with it. Such is the case in art, and Advent Parallax is a rejuvenating expulsion, rich in texture, sound, ideology, power, and significance. Averse Sefira is a beacon for the new age of black metal. Anoint. Alight. Align.

1 comment:

  1. This goes beyond being a mere album review. I find my interest in this band redoubled after reading this insightful article.