Album: Matricide in the Temple of Omega
Label: I, Voidhanger
Genre: Black/Death Metal
Release Date: November 16th, 2018
Ævangelist is the avant-garde black/death metal duo of Matron Thorn and Ascaris. Formed in 2010, they have been a machine ever since, cranking out release after release. Matricide in the Temple of Omega finds the pair back where they released their debut full length, I, Voidhanger. The music is handled by the ever-prolific Matron Thorn while the vocals and lyrics fall in the more than capable hands of Ascaris. Though I have been familiar with this group, Matricide is the first release I’ve had the chance to dig deep into. I was eager to listen to this album, especially since I, Voidhanger have been dropping incredible releases right at the end of this year. The combination of the music with the opaque wordplay positions Ævangelist alongside greats of similarly dissonant and difficult metal such as Gorguts and Deathspell Omega.
The lyrics are an esoteric mix of metaphors and obscure prose that are just this side of indecipherable. Lines twist, bend, and crash into each other crafting a kaleidoscopic tapestry that continually beg you to look deeper into the darkness. Delivered, by Ascaris, with skill in a multitude of styles; including some eerie singing, a black metal shriek, and a low death metal growl. Ascaris’ vocal performance conceals further the already enigmatic meaning behind the words; the growls and shrieks conjure nightmarish visions of unearthly beings off in the distance. The vocals are a little lower in the mix as well, creating yet another layer of obfuscation; while they add to the tableau and tell the story, the music is the focal point of this album.
Ævangelist didn’t set out to make an easy listen, either in the vocals/lyrics, or the music by Matron Thorn who heads all of the various instruments, of which there are more than the usual suspects utilized. For instance, a haunting organ is used on Omen of the Barren Womb, very ominous and reminiscent of some progressive music from the seventies, specifically the chaotic proto avant-garde style. Matron also employs the more expected forms of weaponry, guitars, bass, and drums. The guitars range from background hazy picking and strumming, to more aggressive riffs at the forefront; the style of music uses some of the guitars as an atmospheric blanket. Drums that sound possessed dominate the landscape; Æon Death Knell has more than a few moments in it where I legitimately thought the drums were for a different track, placed here by an unnoticed mistake in mixing. Usually this dynamic, and somewhat jazzy, approach works well for the record with a few moments of exception.
Hallucinogenic with a healthy dose of paranoia, the music does a great job of wearing you down emotionally; the horrors of the creeping unknown are represented by sections of dark refrains. This repetition can become noticeable pushing the boundaries of enjoyment. Matron Thorn writes dynamic and damn interesting music; when a song gets hung on one of these moments, you almost feel as if the track is skipping. Skirting the line very closely, it does manage to remain mostly enjoyable; stopping usually at the moment it would have ceased entertaining. Even with these moments, when I found myself bound in the grasp of Ævangelist , every repeated note would pass unnoticed as I absorbed the whole instead.
Matricide in the Temple of Omega is a dense and ambitious album from a band that seems to pride themselves on just that. Ævangelist are incredibly talented, and have a unique niche carved out in the realm of avant-garde metal. This is a great release that just didn’t click with me the way I expected it to; at its best I was lost in the soundscapes, and at its most problematic, it seemed like the band was lost in their own soundscapes. I am certainly interested in hearing more, and their thick back catalog seems like a good place to spend time while I wait for new music.
2. Æon Death Knell
3. Omen of the Barren Womb
4. The Sonance of Eternal Discord
5. Serpentine As Lustful Nightmare
6. Ascending Into the Pantheon
Total Playing Time: 1:04:23