It has been a while since I last heard from the strange and sinister Tele s therion who are not in any way shape or form to be confused with the operatic, symphonic grandeur of their near namesakes. This is a collective of like-minded musicians and experimental artists who this time around are drawn from all over Europe and the likes of Italy, France, Poland and the Ukraine. They play what is self-described as Acousmatic black metal ‘music for loudspeakers’ and to be experienced fully as an immersive experience to the listener. Having already encountered them around 2010-2011 albums ‘Nature Unveiled’ and ‘The Chapel’ I had some idea of what to expect here and it is music that can also be looked upon as ritualistic blackened dark ambient if that makes it any the easier. As Nature Unveiled was a concept album based on the work by Current 93 so too is Luzifers Abschied based on the “fourth scene of ‘Samstag aus Licht’, from the opera ‘Licht: die sieben Tage der Woche’, composed by Karlheinz Stockhausen. Now you are probably thinking that all this is a bit too much and yes musical principles that go back to Pythagorean philosophy and Varese’s sound as living matter is a lot to deal with especially if you have encountered the likes of Stockhausen and realised he isn’t for everyone. The simple question you are no doubt asking is can I enjoy this by plonking it on my stereo, MP3 player, headphones or whatever listening device you favour and simply listen to it and not worry about all this background noise? The answer is yes but it comes with a bit of a warning, prepare to be downright bloody well scared in doing so.
There are also reasons why the likes of Abruptum, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost are also cited here as the dissonant tones of black metal are easily found within this work too. It’s divided into various chapters which have been themselves divided into 5 tracks. Past albums have been very minimalistic in form and perfect for taking the listener into a stasis of trance induced meditational state. I probably would not advise that here although you can try as this is quickly identified as a pretty damn horrifying place. It sounds like we are dropped in a serial killer’s torture chamber as things clank, pulse and throb with weird tentacles slithering away and invading mind in the process. A long elongated groan rises and this is down to what can only be described as the absolutely nerve shredding performance of Lunurumh from projects such as Astral Lueur, Chapter V:F10 & Virvel Av Morkerhatet. If you thought you had heard it all from Atilla Csihar, think again. This Ukrainian puts on a performance like no other, like a tortured voice from hell, gibbering, wailing and cackling away throughout caustic layers of droning noise it’s all very much not right in the head. Yes you can go out on a limb and play it on the best available equipment, take it into a hi-tech stereo showroom and ask to trial their top of line range and watch them think you have opened a portal to hell. Even on PC speakers though this is going to really sound fantastic and completely unnerving.
Huge percussive crashes reverberate as we move into the second segment and there is an expansion of form in the vocalisation, not quite forming words but like blood has been borne and vocal chords are expanding with them. There’s even some operatic tones amidst the madness as the music tortures in ways that only visionaries like Stockhausen could have dreamt up in midst of a nightmare. It’s like a fever dream as saxophone casually wails through it all like some sort of overdose from a work by William S Burroughs. The Moorcockian cackles are reminiscent of Hawkwind at their most psychedelic weirdness and the 15 minute piece offers no escape or respite as it continues to wring out mangled contortions of both voice and seismic sound spasms, forged in a devil’s laboratory. The startling thing here is that although an underlying score was submitted the artists here performed their composite parts unknowing what each other was laying down themselves. The voice in all its hideous, alien and necrotic forms fill up the third segment with clattering background noise from drums and other shrill noises occasionally slewing out the ether like nails down a blackboard. What sounds like strings or razor-wire slicing flesh amidst the gurgling blood-spewed vocals and some harmonic choral chants brings this unholy mass into the fourth part. If you have lasted this far you are now in for the long haul and are surely fully indoctrinated into the cult. That voice rises biting gobbets of flesh out as snares crack and a mass of sound builds throbbing away with a peel of screaming sonic noise part deafening the listener. Now we are getting to wards Lucifer revealing himself fully perhaps and the last harrowing part of this devilish symphony “Periode XIII | Ausgang.” How does this all end, well hopefully you are intrigued enough by now to try and find out for yourselves, if not I cannot blame you for not opening this particular box, you may never be the same again.
‘Luzifers Abschied’ is a startling work of utter madness and it feels like its composers have really channelled something completely evil and forbidden in its disharmonic composition. If you are feeling brave go explore its ungodly terrain but be warned that once opened this is not something that can easily be shut, far less forgotten!
(9/10 Pete Woods)