Xasthur
A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors

Harsh, fast, repetitive, slow, haunting, grim, raw, distorted, minimalist, rhythmic, this is the definitive remastered director’s cut of prolific Malefic’s 2001 demo A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors and 2001 promo A Darkened Winter. Unfortunately the promo copy that I am reviewing only includes disc one of the two-disc set so I still have not acquired A Darkened Winter. If you tell me you have a copy I won’t believe you.

Hydra Head has provided us with a re-release of the Total Holocaust Records remix version complete with the original demo version artwork, except the current logo was added and this time it is in color. Five songs were re-recorded and two were remixed, and to this was added a Mutiilation cover that is not the least bit out of place. This is Xasthur at his most primal, moving from sonically punishing to mesmerizing tranquil in the same song with minimal vocals to mar the soundscape. “Cursed Be The Memory of Light” remains one of my favorite songs, and the rest of the album holds up well to comparison with the rest of his catalog as well.

There are two other points to be made in this review. One, it is pointless to review another Xasthur disc, we all know the deal by now, and two, naysayers will not be swayed and fans already bought the previous release, which leaves it up to the bonus disc to determine if you acquire this version. Since I didn’t get the bonus disc I can not offer much help there except to say that the three originally untitled songs that now have titles eventually appeared in altered form elsewhere, and to this are added a vocal-less demo version of a demo song and an untitled rehearsal track.

Naming my three favorite Xasthur full lengths, it would be Defective Epitaph, A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors, and The Funeral of Being. In that order.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
June 2nd, 2008

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