Averse Sefira - _Tetragrammatical Astygmata_
(Evil Horde Records, 2005)
by: James Montague (8 out of 10)
Averse Sefira is a Texan trio that blends the hypnotic, melodic riffing style of Norwegian black metal with the precision violence of American death metal, delivered with a clear and professional sound. Normally such a description would put me off; and indeed when their _Battle's Clarion_ album came out in 2001, I dismissed the band as being excellent musicians but average black metallers. After all, the great black metal recordings were never about having the most blast beats per second, as many excruciatingly dull modern black/death hybrids would have you believe, and I felt Averse Sefira were missing the point of the whole exercise. However, with time I stopped looking for misty forests and icy demonstorms in their sound and took _Battle's Clarion_ for what it was: an arresting yet spiritual cycle of violence. With _Tetragrammatical Astygmata_, the band's craft has taken a further step forward, with improved musicianship and greater clarity of vision than ever before.

Though Averse Sefira's sound is unremitting, their methods are deceptively simple. Most of their riffs are short, aggressive bursts, generally gathered in pairs or triplets and repeated many more times than is the norm, even for black metal. These bursts are accentuated and adrenalized by flurries of extremely quick snare blasts, and the individual riffs are linked by a great variety of fills by the impressively dexterous drummer, Marcus "The Carcass". The end result is a highly visual experience, the pendulum-like alternating of riffs giving the music a symmetrical feel, each melody tracing out lines in red and amber, changing course on each drum fill to depict complex, geometrically perfect symbols. As I become more and more lost in repetitive hypnosis, the shapes burst into the foreground before spinning and spiraling into the void like some kind of Satanic screensaver; the appropriately-named "Helix in Audience" is the best example of this bizarre and enthralling effect.

I do occasionally hear dissenting voices that pour scorn upon the work of Averse Sefira, citing the lameness of these miniature melodies, and indeed the crystal clear production of _Tetragrammatical Astygmata_ may tempt the listener to take a more critical stance than he/she would for the obscure, muffled sounds of Darkthrone's _Transilvanian Hunger_ and similarly misty expressions. But even though an impartial dissection of the components may not wield much of interest, the effect of the whole is impressive. The album is best listened to in a relaxed state of mind, when you can disconnect from your surroundings and be swept up in the eternal vortex that the band so vividly creates -- when I play it loud through headphones on the train, coming home from an exhausting day at the office, I find myself completely lost to the living. Indeed, _Tetragrammatical Astygmata_ dominates the senses to an almost hazardous degree, making it impossible to work to and perilous to drive to. Be warned -- you might want to keep this one at home.

Contact: http://www.aversesefira.com

(article published 3/10/2005)


ALBUMS
2/25/2008 J Smit 8.5 Averse Sefira - Advent Parallax
10/19/2001 P Azevedo 8 Averse Sefira - Battle's Clarion
GIGS
6/20/2006 T DePalma Demilich / Averse Sefira / Biolich / Funebrarum / Sothis / Abythos / Mucupurient A Tale of Two Cities
8/12/1999 A Wasylyk Cradle of Filth / Usurper / Endless / Averse Sefira Averse Conditions Inhibit the Endless Usurp of Filth
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