Fas — Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum
AJNA Offensive/Southern Lord
There are two sides to this story, for Fas cannot be distilled down to one sound, one description. Deathspell Omega’s sound is a Janus-faced one; two sides, greatly different, coexisting and uneasily complementing one another. This finds its most obvious embodiment in the twin “Obombration” opener and closer — the first is a careening, detuned stunner, a doomy march with broken glass shards of lead guitar and an incantatory feel that is preceded by dense ambiance, water dripping down the walls of ruined cathedrals. The closer is two-minutes of Wagnerian, classically orchestrated dread; a proper black mass summoning.
Side the first:
Fas is wild and untamed sorcery; spontaneous, cinematic and insular. Black metal as conceived by De Kooning or Jackson Pollack, splatters of darkling color and dimmed light — sounds shift and shimmer and devour. Instruments careen wildly, the tunings are arbitrary and avant-garde, instrumental flourishes and song rhythms work according to their own perverse logic. Songs fade in and out sometimes mid-chord, transforming drastically, shedding skin and emerging anew, between long stretches of tense, muted atmospherics and ominous silences, so pregnant with possibility. This is nowhere more evident than in the jarring, sprawling “The Shrine of Mad Laughter” — the very essence of insanity/possession.
Side the second:
The raw ambition of Fas towers in a dizzying fashion far beyond mosh pits or corpse paint or rebelliously-flashed baphomets. This is devotional music. Grand classical flourishes. These songs are grandiose, ancient incantations and evocations and musical forms as old as the tortures of the Inquisition or martyrs being burned at the stake. There are forces at work here. Images called to mind are black marble hallways, an aristocracy turning their back on morality and seeking an order in darkness. Whispers, distant echoes of inverted ceremonies and left-hand prayers; mental hospitals where the gates have been long hence thrown open. Gregorian Chant and choral music forms are appropriated and used as they see fit. This is far beyond black metal and has as much in common with the Swans, Sonic Youth, Coil, Shadow Project, the most poised of church musiks, Wagner, free jazz…..
Pure expressions of elegant evil that acknowledge no master and no peers. Fucking stunning.
Southern Lord: www.southernlord.com