De Magia Veterum - Migdal Bavel
Transcendental Creations
Avant-garde Black Metal
10 songs (37'30")
Release year: 2009
Transcendental Creations
Reviewed by Alex

If what they say is true, that the other man’s soul is mysterious darkness to any outsider, then the soul of one Dutchman Mories has to be colored pitch black. That, and it is full with creativity to the brim. This can be a plausible explanation why Mories chooses avant-garde black metal as his creative outlet. His other band, Gnaw Their Tongues, was born later, but appears to be more productive with the slew of underground releases. The study case in point here, De Magia Veterum, has a one full-length and one EP behind its belt. It is also a more frenetic and wacky of the two, leaving all of the inhibitions behind delving into a complete sea of lunacy, if the second full-length Migdal Bavel is any indication.

A fair word of warning, this music is not for everybody. You have got to be prepared for this oppressive overbearing wall of sonic distortion to climb all over you, so being familiar with some raw esoteric black metal is helpful. Although not mandatory, some experience with Overmars, Khlyst, Aborym and Frost (UK) could prepare you well for what Migdal Bavel compositions will bring.

Bursting at the seams with the myriad of ideas, the album’s tracks do not provide for the smoothest of transitions, and many of the music lines begin and end rather abruptly, the song pieces seems to be butt-ended together. The definition of “chaotic” in a dictionary has to have a De Magia Veterum picture next to it. The beginner The Confusion of Tongues blasts on the scene in a rapid fire fashion only to stall in a dissonant trance. The Boat of Uta-Naphistim opens with a steady melodic tremolo, only to give way to some crazy fret flies which culminate in a triumphant end. I Am the Vine proves to be the more structured one, although it starts as dashing particle Brownian motion.

Mories does not spend more than 10 seconds on an individual riff, and those you can make out are technical and quirky. Guitars are dominating and are at the forefront of this record. There is no over-reliance on synthesizer to push up melodies and the drum machine (I assume that these are not real drums) does not vie for attention either. It is unfortunate that some of the progressions which could use some development, like the beginning of Zaota and the rapidly moving seawaves of Rapture, end so prematurely, but so is the signature of De Magia Veterum on this record, to continuously search in a self-devouring fashion.

Migdal Bavel reminded me most of Anaal Nathrakh. Avantgarde black metal on display here is not only chaotic, it is downright psychotic, although the vocals, also pushed back a bit to give guitars their rightful dominance are not as obvious or as demented as in Anaal Nathrakh. Judging from the song titles Migdal Bavel is full of occult mid-Eastern mystique, which I probably would’ve had trouble discerning even if I did have a lyrics sheet in front of me.

Disturbing, esoteric, domineering and very much underground Migdal Bavel is going to require an unhinged, anxious mindset to truly connect. This is for the selected few, and even though I respect the art shown, I can’t honestly say that my bond with this record was inseparable throughout.

Killing Songs :
The Boat of Uta-Naphistim, Zaota, I Am the Vine
Alex quoted 78 / 100
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There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:22 am
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