Goatpsalm - _Erset La Tari_
(Aesthetic Death Records, 2012)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
This review is a latecomer, since the album has already been released in year 2012, but being such a unique recording, it had to be exposed to the sunlight. In the case of Goatpsalm's _Erset La Tari_ (supposedly "Land of no return" in Sumerian), said exposure is very much justified, and then some; it's a one of a kind endeavor in deep, terror-laden, ritualistic music that's truly enigmatic and charged with depraved spirituality oozing harmfully and relentlessly from the loudspeakers.

Russian band Goatpsalm bring to mind Norwegian death metal prodigy Shaarimoth; and even though half of _Erset La Tari_ shares little to nothing with metal music per se, both bands have a lot in common in that both use the same visual aesthetics (red and black cover and booklet art stemming from the same Mesopotamian origin); same lyrical themes (Sumerian / Mesopotamian demon mythologies); and even a momentary Mid-Eastern vibe, here and there. In addition, both bands have not broken the glass ceiling of anonymity and they are mostly unheralded, to say the least.

Both bands indeed succeed in tackling atmosphere generation from different angles, yet ultimately both aspire to reach the same goal: to create dark dimensions and tools for embodiments of ancient evils resurrected from the cradle of western civilization, where and when human sacrifices and foul, ceremonial deeds were executed on behalf of the gods of the pit, and those were many. These are the soundtracks that could have been ornamenting any profoundly obscure ritual known to man since the dawn of mankind: harmful, vile, lamenting, harrowing, unmerciful.

Whereas Shaarimoth articulate their Mesopotamian flair and fascination for Sumerian demonology via death metal, Goatpsalm translate these Middle Eastern dark mythologies through the prism of dark ambient, ritual ambient, black ambient, death industrial and some black metal.

Most of the album is virtually devoid of any metallic influence, whereas only the last track transfigures into a black metal lullaby of death in somewhat an unorthodox way, where dissonant walls of noise give way to sensually melodic undercurrents that push the track forward and prevent it from becoming an indistinguishable mass (and mess) of distorted noise along the lines of Brighter Death Now, but always keeping in bay the complete cacophony of the latter, enabling melodious paradigms to shine through the murk.

The better part of the recording is more into complex and layered plots where industrial/ambient foundations (but never 'noise' par excellence) have been superimposed by distorted human vocals citing dark magical spells, an occasional distorted guitar chord or some clean yet minimal guitar strumming. In addition, the tracks are designed in such a manner that the many layers added one on top of the other materialize into music (or an experience, more accurately) that ultimately sounds thick, fleshy and virtually impenetrable.

There are those moments throughout the recording during which the listener actually feels engulfed by a dark aura of evil presence; in those quintessential moments, one can actually hear and feel the devil himself speak; his crusty, thorny, unhealthy omnipresence piercing the listener's flesh and squeezing his/her soul out.

The album's three tracks are a showcase of well balanced approaches to dark music, where all the non-metal elements play alongside the metallic counterparts, each part, each element, done with the utmost care and purposeful precision; and so in the end this balance brings forth an experience as unique as any.

_Erset La Tari_ is where dark ritual ambient seamlessly overlaps industrial undertones and in turn these aesthetics meticulously blend and merge with and correspond to black metal's distinctive sound, engineering in the process the very tool of Near-East esoterica and transcendence using forbidden knowledge.

Musically, this 45 minute somber ceremony echoes and quotes the likes of Abruptum and MZ. 412 (the band's self-proclaimed major influences), the aforementioned Brighter Death Now to a lesser extent, the enigmatic entity Flittering in their obscure recording _Gloom_, Colombia's best kept secret The Red Angle, and perhaps it also pays homage to Lurker of Chalice's self-titled album, an effort as depraved and disturbing as _Erset La Tari_.

This effort cannot be recommended enough; it's unlike anything you've heard before. This is pure black magic, challenging the senses and unrelenting on the mind, but quite worth every single second you'd spend trying to figure out what's going on between the pages of this dark, dark sonic book of spells.

Contact: http://www.aestheticdeath.com/

(article published 23/4/2014)

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