Xasthur
Subliminal Genocide

Imagine owning two paintings, Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son and Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. The first would be hung in the living room for all the guests to admire; the second would be hung in the study for special guests to admire. This new disc by Xasthur, if it was a painting, would be stored in a closet, only brought out for special occasions. This sub genre of black metal has relatively few followers worldwide, but every single one of them owns his whole back catalog. For those followers, no point in reading further, you already know you will like it. For everyone else in the metal universe, if you have despised the back catalog or simply dismissed it as boring, you may not want to stand up and take notice either.

Subliminal Genocide is the 5th full-length recording by Xasthur. Once again the prolific Malefic thinks we all need to hear everything he has written. With this new full-length recording, Xasthur has done the unthinkable; he has rehashed his old material yet again. What makes this album worthwhile is not new innovations or more skill on display, because this is not exactly skeletons dancing the jig.

This time he goes beyond the “see how grating this is, hear how disharmonious it is” to a level of discord that is a pleasure to listen to. Any band can write aggressive, chaotic, noise/industrial/psychedelic backed cacophony or mindlessly dreary drivel but it takes skill and effort to create true misanthropic black metal.

Grading on a curve, Xasthur gets a B+ for this effort, definitely his finest in quite some time, it is evocative and mood altering. It does not make me depressed and does not make me want to slit my wrists, but it does absorb you into its ebb and flow. If music can change your state of mind it has achieved a level of excellence. If it can alter the way you think about the world it has realized its full potential, which is Malefic’s next obstacle. If Claude Debussy went over to the dark side his music might have evolved into this.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
November 30th, 2006

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