How can you resist a hyperbolically boastful black metal title like Barbaric Usurpation Of The Hypereonic Black Metal Throne? tUMULt continues to dig deep into the Bay Area black metal underground, after introducing the rest of the world to such USBM luminaries as Weakling, Leviathan, Draugar and Crebain, now prepare yourself to bow before the mighty Mastery. Another one man band, known (not so) simply as Domignostika, who also does time as vocalist in local corpse painted horde Pale Chalice, as well as being the one man behind the only REAL one man black metal band (as in he plays guitar and sings while playing blast beats with his feet) Pandiscordian Necrogenesis, and who had previously played bass and sung for the late great Horn Of Dagoth (which also featured members of Crebain and Kerasphorus), Mastery is Domignostika's long running project, which over the last six years released 5 extremely limited cd-r demos, all of which are collected here, remastered, and widely available outside of the Bay Area for the very first time.
Barbaric Usurpation Of The Hypereonic Black Metal Throne? A serious claim of musical supremacy? A tongue in cheek poke at the constant battle for supreme grimness and kvltness, or taking the piss? Hard to tell, but considering the sheer brutality and relentless buzz of Mastery's frenzied black onslaught, we're leaning toward that title being a serious claim. After a strange, ambient intro, a sort of John Carpenter-ish bit of creeped out synthscapery, Mastery launches into the most recent demo, from 2009, the simply titled 'I' (all the tracks here a confusionally titled with Roman numerals), a frantic, frenzied freak out of swirling chaotic black buzz, a sound that at first blush sounds like some bastard hybrid of Inquisition and Vondur and Ocrilim. Six plus minutes of relentless gnarled buzzing, the vocals a sinister beastly croak, the drums a furious buried blast, but it's the guitars, insanely tangled and twisted, not so much riffs as a continuous serious of constantly mutating rapidfire runs, with much of the 'riffing' sounding more like multiple guitars maniacally soloing, spitting off pick harmonics and jagged squeals without ever looking back. Minus the drums and the vokills, this could definitely be some sort of avant experimental guitar record, but as it is, it becomes a demented slab of blurred, blown out, frenzied and fucked up black metal weirdness. The second track is way heavier on the low end, but no less flipped out, the riffing impossibly hyper, once again a swirling chaos of gnarled blackness and nearly psychedelic abstract avant shreddery. Mastery is total berzerker black metal, rooted in the tradition of true grim blackness, but filtered through Mastery's cracked perception, transforming this into something beyond true, a droned out and damaged, outsider blackness, that sounds pretty much unlike almost any other black metal.
Sure on the surface, it's blast and buzz, but as you sink into these extended black sprawls, the songs seem to unfold, and expand, buzzing blackness that blossoms into something wholly other, in such a way, that one has to fight the urge to try and figure out how these songs work, or how they're arranged, they sound almost improvised, but they're impossibly dense, and the arrangement, however esoteric, seems to be structured, but in some way that out pitiful human brains can not hope to comprehend.
Of course the newest demo is the most polished, but the older demos, for what they lack in polish, they seem to make up for in sheer whatthefuckness, demo four is another series of black blasts that twist and turn, and mutate before your ears, a glancing listen will reveal some of THEE fastest and most furious BM you may have heard, but again, the riffs seem to be constantly twisting and turning, the vocals to, hateful and harsh as befitting BM, but also completely baffling and utterly alien. But demo 3, a single 33 minute epic is something else entirely, with much of the record being made up of glitched out, harrowing black ambience, crunchy and distorted, with howled raspy vox, when the guitar do kick in, the buzz and drone, with the drums sounding almost electronic, looped way down in the mix, the sound weirdly hypnotic, before slipping into something slightly more black, and then back into some creepy ambience, before launching into a long stretch of blown out black majesty, which like much of the record, as much to offer upon deep listening, revealing all manner of hidden melody, lush textures, and most notably some strange strange riffs, this track in particular, though adding a super mesmerizing trancelike element, which is in fact present throughout all the demos, in lesser measure.
The second disc is made up of the first two demos, and thus finds Mastery at their (his?) most traditionally black metal, but again, it's all relative, so while much of this disc is spent chugging and blasting, raw and grim, all brittle buzz and brutal blast, the twisted sounds that would come to define Mastery's baffling sound begin to surface, strange gnarled riffs, some cool drum/guitar interplay, plenty of wild tangled squiggle guitar weirdness (especially on the first track of demo 2), which mixes in maniacally shredding guitars with more of that tranced/droned out atmosphere, not to mention some of the most anguished vokills yet, the whole collection finishing with the downright doomy final track from the second demo, a crumbling super distorted death march, with somehow even MORE anguished vocals, a woozy, washed out, blackened plod, that explodes in the final two minutes for one final burst of blasting, maniacal, demoniac blackness.
Killer black, red and white space / wolf / spacewolf cover art, lovingly adapted/purloined from a lost eighties art rock artifact...
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