Thralldom – A Shaman Steering the Vessel of Vastness

thralldom_92406_shamanI missed out on “Black Sun Resistance”, yet I still pull out and get lost in the superior “Beast Eye Open to the Sky” from NYC’s Thralldom. The latter is such a potent and punishing release from start to finish. Sure, the band didn’t hide their Darkthrone spirit, but their style just seemed more filthy, interesting and seemingly influenced by the harsh surroundings one would find living in one of the biggest cities in the world. Having missed out on what I can only imagine is a transitional album, my expectations were high for “A Shaman Steering the Vessel of Vastness”. I do consider myself and open minded fan of all styles of music, even some dark ambient and experimental releases, so when it was obvious that this new album would find a lot of sound manipulation lurking between tracks and off in the background, I was further interested to let this album unfurl its ghastly black wings and take me to a different plane of existence. Well… the noise is present, but the visionless repetition in the music isn’t enough to keep me tuned in to even one composition, let alone 7 tracks. An obvious attempt at “hypnotic” has ended up coming off as boring and ill prepared. Most songs possess a 2 riff maximum, while all loping along at the same slow to mid-paced tempo with plenty of extraneous guitar scraping. With the band being widdled down to just Killusion (guitars, vox, noise) and Jaldagar (drums / noise), the lack of creative riff ideas seems like the result of musical tunnel vision. The album sounds completely jammed out/improvised in a rehearsal space and captured on so-so equipment for that muddy/sludged out aura. The production could have worked and not had any sort of an impact on the music itself, but the songs just seem to go nowhere to detract your attention away from the production. The vocals are oddly buried in the mix, so Thralldom have successfully paved over yet another once positive element to their sound. There’s really nothing on display here to give the listener to hold onto… any sort of distinct riff idea that may surface, Thralldom quickly submerge in a murky stew of drifting noisescapes that sound like they were also created on the spot. “A Shaman Steering the Vessel of Vastness” honestly sounds like a rushed album from 2 souls that would rather be doing something else, in a different band. If this is indeed the final Thralldom release, I really can’t hear any reason for them to hang around any longer. -Marty

~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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