CD REVIEW Xasthur

Band : Xasthur
Album title : Nightmares At Dawn
Label : Avantgarde Music
Distributor : /
Release date : 23/03/2012
Release : CD

No, dear Xasthur fans, your favourite one-man Epic/ Atmospheric Black Metal project has nót been revived. In fact, Xashur is laid to rest indefinitely, with Malefic now interested in other things than music (at least for a while).

We [meaning me, and the other personalities within myself – never alone with a schizophrenic, so they say (uh...that's a joke, okay?!)] came in contact with this “band” through the album Defective Epitaph (released through Hydra Head, and distributed through Belgian label Conspiracy Records), a review for which (with ample info on previous releases by Malefic akà Xasthur) was posted on 28/10/2007. One year later (June 2008) saw the release of the 3-track EP A Living Hell (a split with Black Circle, whom contributed one song) through Turanian Records. Following the April 2009 release of the full-length All Reflections Drained, again released through Hydra Head, Malefic made yet another effort to turn the one-man project into a band situation (another attempt was made in the '90s), but failed to interest people into joining him, although he eventually attracted Larissa Nadler (solo artist singer/ songwriter/ guitarist in the “Ambient Atmspheric Shoe Gaze Acid-Folk genre with two albums on her activities list back then) to do some lead and backing vocals on his next album. The search for people to join him was actually spawn from having outgrown his Xasthur persona, it being something he'd grown weary of for quite some time already. Also, he had not been quite content with the 2009 album, and had hopes that a band situation album would sparkle the old flame within himself. So, March 2010 not only saw the release of the album Portal Of Sorrow (first release through Malefic's own Disharmonic Variations, with vinyl provided again by Hydra Head), but also an announcement of the project's demise. At the same time he also let it be known that he was still continuing in music, but with something different! A mere week before that announcement, on February 23, Hydra Head released the EP Demo (featuring two songs off a 2005 demo)

Weirdly enough, although the Xasthur project was finished, Malefic agreed to help a friend of his into making the first official Xasthur video for the track “Walker Of Dissonant Worlds” (off the 2004 album To Violate The Obvious (Total Holocaust Records). In early March of last, a new video was released for the song “Horizon Of Plastic Caskets” (off Portal Of Sorrow,the video forged from leftover footage and ideas not used by the director of the original clip).

So, if  this is “not a new album”, then what is it? Well, it's a collection of previously unreleased tracks Malefic recorded between 2004 and 2009. One's a cover of Black Sabbath's “A National Acrobat”, three are re-makes of Xasthur classics [namely “The Prison Of Mirrors” of 2006's Subliminal Genocide and “Screaming At Forgotten Tears” off 2004's To Violate The Obvious (both re-recorded in 2007), plus the title track of 2003's EP Suicide In Dark Serenity (in a 2004 version)], and no less than 10 original songs...making for an amazing total listening time of just under 76 minutes, and an absolute must for anyone into atmospheric Black Metal. Counting myself among that type of people (but without restricting myself to it), you'll understand why I'm catapulting Nightmares At Dawn into my “Best Albums Of 2012” lists!? Xasthur is often named as one of the leading acts in the genre, and that is for good reasons! For 30-second samples of all songs on the new album, check the album's page at Amazon (for a couple of full-length tracks off older albums, check (www.) myspace.com/xasthurband).

Then, what is Malefic...sorry, Scott... up to these days? First of all, it seems like he will continue his label, then, he's already recorded songs for his new project Nocturnal Poisoning (which is still a one-man thing, but will have participations from people from all over the US), displaying the musician without his usual wall of distortion (so he says). Also, he played bass on the self-titled album of Graveside Service (NOT typical Black Metal, with a full time, full on piano player in the band). Furthermore, Scott has expressed the fact that he will NOT be appearing or participating in any side-projects anymore, nor will be “collaborate”, or get into any “all-star” bands either, as he simply does not have the time for it anymore (at the time being!).

99/100

Tony.