KvltistAs the end of 2015 looms so do the end of year lists as I tend to wait until the last minute before producing said lists on the off chance that something truly amazing comes my way and blows my mind. Thankfully or disappointingly the German duo that forms Kvltist shoot their release across the boughs of my list with a confident black metal display that is modernised and accomplished considering it is the band’s debut.

Seven tunes of progressive contemporary black metal that has a cinematic approach much like Dødsengel, Slagmaurin parts due to its soaring arrangements and grandiose posturing that begins with “The Devil’s Catechumen” and immediately thrust into a world of schizoid sonics that possess an occult and mystical ethos. Chaos reigns with authority on this release and it is that pandemonium that instils a layer of creeping avant-garde to the song writing tactics deployed. Often I had Swedish Shining running past my radar and though not as involved or as complex as the Swedes this offers that palpable clamouring tension the Swedes do to such devastating effect. Multiple vocal styles are used such as screams, of course, but also swirling whispers, groans, and an aching torturous delivery that create a theatrical aura that black metal absolutely requires from whichever sub-genre you have in mind.

“Devotion” is typically held within black metal familial lines with blistering pace and polar sonic landscaping creating an embittered tune that leads into “Darkest Light From Glaring Shadows” with its retro blackened charisma breathing black misted breath from its icy corrupted core. There are many bands that have been spawned in recent years offering the anarchic blackened assault that came from side projects of established black metal bands of the 90s like Abruptum and Ved Buens Endes where uncomfortable off key styling scrapes against accepted norms of the genre. “Eucharisty Of Death Divine” is fearsome obsidian potency with relentless speed often going unnoticed as you absorb the guitar histrionics that MZI unleashes that torment the auditory senses gleefully like Dødsengel, Slagmaur and even Dødheimsgard to certain a degree.

The massive nine minutes of “Oblation” begins with monastic chants creating a cold but serene canvas for the tune to erect a colossal foundation of effect laden turbulence that builds into a monolithic cranial incursion that utilises multi vocals, varying tempo shifts and generally feels awkward but completely engaging. As the tune fades it links straight into “Doxologia Eosphoros” and again that unnerving tone lashes at you before unveiling a more strait laced black metal tune that is peppered with an abundance of subtle changes to reflect the psychotic formula this album adopts to completely undermine your psyche from which I am still recovering from.

8/10 (Martin Harris)