A Young Man's Funeral - _Thanatic Unlife_
(Fono Ltd., 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
After several listening sessions to _Thanatic Unlife_, one would come to realize this album shares almost the very same aesthetics with Sorrow's _Hatred and Disgust_, the only full-length album this American outfit have ever recorded (back in 1992) -- an album that was the gold standard for what doom/death is all about, or should be: force-feeding bleakness; the uglier sibling of death metal; the retarded, hateful kid, who's biding his time until he can unleash his fury on a global scale. _Hatred and Disgust_ was just that: full of hate, brimming with disgust for humanity and its establishments, and sorrow was the right sentiment at the right place and time, for the music on that album -- as ugly and unforgiving as it was -- had emanated nothing but pure sorrow, tangible pain mingled with extreme vitriol.

_Thanatic Unlife_ echoes those sentiments, albeit in a more refined fashion, but still the music, conveyed via the three long tracks comprising this album, is sadness of the most non-romantic kind; vehemence and supreme melancholy in equal measures walking slowly the path toward oblivion, with bizarre dynamics, some piano driven riffs and a general lethargy that can devour both cynicism and life-affirming escapism alike.

_Thanatic Unlife_ is the soundtrack of the downtrodden and the beaten; a score for the harsh post-modernism, where suicide, acute depression and on-line decapitation clips are the norm -- the goddamn awful norm. A lament for every value we once held dear, transpiring in the face of technology and an accelerated process of desensitization; an age where a mother can easily forget her toddler in a steaming-hot car until he boils to death, but she will never, ever forget her fucking smartphone.

Listen to the plodding, malevolent vibes of this album and see all the follies of mankind unfold before your mind's eye, like a compilation of reality TV horror scenes, unmerciful and uncensored. Sad piano tunes intertwine with extremely heavy distorted guitars playing almost primitive sustained chords and an abysmal growler spitting chunks of his lungs out across the loudspeakers, while the drums -- despite their sparsity -- are both extremely powerful and inventive, offering an almost artistic flair with their weird dynamics and their ever shifting paradigms. Occasionally, the sluggishness gives way to a short rhythmic part, where the full-fledged metal ensemble powerhouse is unleashed, with harrowing, ripping rhythm guitars, faster drumming and the all-obliterating, monstrous growls. Right then and there, Thanatic Unlife sounds like a pure breed death metal band -- a freight train that has lost its brakes.

Overall, _Thanatic Unlife_ is a well rewarding experience for the masochists among you, or for those who are too happy for their own sake and need some dead weight to pull them down toward the cold grounds of harsh reality and unbearable existence. You wouldn't easily find such a corrosive, soul-crushing, light-dimming album in the realm of doom/death, we can guarantee you that much. The neoclassical piano parts that keep clashing with the metallic barrage are beautifully contrasting, and the songs are therefore given a different shade of nihilism, an enormity and scope that dually make the listener relate, while at the very same time all the music wants to do is to alienate.

In the end, there's one single sentiment that lingers on in the aether, even after the last of the sounds has died out: we are in a world of shit.

Contact: http://www.fono.ru/

(article published 10/9/2014)


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