Tjolgtjar - _Midnight Mindtrip_
(Suffering Jesus Productions, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (7.5 out of 10)
The Reverend J Preston returns with another helping of occult black metal. His previous release, _Five Tjolgtarian Keys_, was an eccentric and fascinating creation whose '70s touches and eclecticism resulted in an album akin to an underground Sigh. By comparison, this is a rather straightforward release, lacking the overt '70s touches. They haven't gone, but are fewer in number and more subtly incorporated within his occult canvas -- trust me, a good portion of his riffs were not obtained from any form of black metal! This also lends a greater sense of coherency to his work, consequently resulting in a more satisfying listen.

However, some ideas still come straight out of left field: the best example is the beginning of "Voyage of Satan's Elves", which opens with a brief sample of Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries"... as rendered by a monotone on an old mobile! This is either a moment of understated genius or sheer idiocy, and I can't decide which it is. The Reverend's vocals remain as varied as ever, ranging from black metal shrieks and snarls through to a leg-crossing falsetto. Whatever else Tjolgtjar may be, he isn't a boring vocalist.

The realm of feral, lo-fi black metal is polluted with B-grade Darkclones, and the approach of the Reverend is more than welcome. It's just a pity that this is his final release, as his idiosyncratic style is far from exhausted.


(article published 16/10/2007)

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