Avichi - _The Devil's Fractal_
(Profound Lore, 2011)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (
I know I say this a lot, but good goddamn, North America has some fine black metal. Avichi is a one man project created and lead by Andrew Markuszewski, better known as Aamonael. Markuszewski's talents have been seen across the Chicago, Illinois area with sludge act Lord Mantis, former black metal act Unholy Trinity and the now high profiled Nachtmystium.Markuszewski's tenure in Nachtmystium began in the early 2000s as live support, but quickly drew closer into a connected web which now hovers like a black cloud over the Chicago area. Avichi, Natchmystium, Lord Mantis and Twilight are all characters in a shared universe of black and doom metal. Avichi, thematically, is concerned with the dark arts, and specifically Lucifer in an ancient form. _The Devil's Fractal_ is Avichi's second record with Charlie Fell from Nachtmystium providing percussion. Avichi's dedication to blindingly fast yet reasonably accessible black metal has paid off in one of the more interesting evil metal records of the year.The Devil and general evil has been explored in various dimensions with heavy metal. Despite some misconceptions, the dark lord himself has not been a premier player in black metal since the early '80s. Paganism, metaphysics, philosophy and literature have all become popular black metal subjects, leaving the concept of Satan to hard rock and what everyone thinks metal is concerned with. Avichi corrects this by dedicating a record to the Devil. Avichi's thematic structure is based around vague biblical notions of Satan along with the art of black magic. It is unclear how serious Avichi is taking the themes, but regardless of intent, _The Devil's Fractal_ emanates a menacing undertone, and if played too often will open a portal into Hell.One of the more striking qualities of _The Devil's Fractal_ is the use of near eastern musical scales employed successfully in the past by acts such as Melechesh and Rotting Christ. "Under Satan's Sun" swirls like a thousand flying demons blotting out the moon, while "Tabernacle of Perdition" gives off the faint hint of myrrh and burning incense. The two part "The Devil's Fractal" challenges the listener by delivering a near twenty minute closer of blast beats and throaty cries. Avichi's choice to keep the template of black metal but add a deep fidelity does not diminish the style, but instead adds to its complexity, allowing thundering bass and devastating drum crashes to sink the listener into darkness. Avichi's dedication to Satan never comes off as truly genuine. This may sound like a slight, but _The Devil's Fractal_ feels like a fantasy or a science fiction record. A subject is proposed, explored and paid adequate tribute. Despite the perceived distance, there also is never a trace of irony in the record. Evil and darkness are given the proper respect, merely updating first wave black metal's original journey into dark subject matter. Whatever the reasons for the descent, Avichi continues the path once treaded by Venom, Mercyful Fate and early thrash / black metal bands.
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