Over the past year or so it’s become pretty safe to say that my interest in the Occult has grown dramatically. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of magic and more underground or ancient religious movements, I even have a cat named Crowley (shout out to my cat). I also have taken the time to delve into LaVeyan Satanism via reading the classic Satanic Bible. Now, I don’t want to sound lame but it was (to understate the point) a refreshing read and has ensured that I now wear a Satanic Cross around my neck (call me sad if you will).
Naturally this newfound love of the Occult has made me appreciate, most notable Black Metal even more so than I ever did. That is why I’m more than happy to review the latest album from Thokkian Vortex. The band formed in 2006 by the hand of Lord Kaiaphas most well know for his time with the kvlt Norwegian Black Metal outfit Ancient. In the years that followed the band put out an EP, The Saturnine Alliance in 2007, but after this all went silent. That was until 2016 and the release of the bands debut full length Into The Nagual. Now in 2020 we get the bands sophomore Occultist tome Thy Throne Is Mine through Non Serviam Records.
The albums intro is a mysterious Dark Ambient piece that sets the scene with grand ritualistic theatre, the kind of opening that I can appreciate. The seamless blending into Banishing The Lion Of Kutha is one of twisted beauty. Melodious guitars usher in a wave of more traditional 90’s themed Black Metal as the pace picks up and the crisp vocals erupt. The cleaner vocal portions are reminiscent of Bal-Sagoth yet without quite so much ceremony, it’s a strong sound. The title track is a whirlwind classic Black Metal banger that is full of catchy hooks and ‘trve’ ideals, if you like your Black Metal traditional with elements of accessibility then listen here. The rest of the first part of the album is equally strong and full of great Black Metal.
The second portion of the release is of a similar calibre and doesn’t get boring as is often the case with these sort of ‘old school worship’ bands. The Wreathing Serpent provides simplistic catchy riffs that make for good memorability and help set up this later part of the record. Come To The Sabbat throws a real curveball in the midst of the album with dare I say Folk Metal inspired sections and a more upbeat delivery. It’s very good even if it is a touch out of place, however the quality is so high that you just can’t complain. To throw another obscurity into the mix comes Sunrise Over Irkalla which enters as an unexpectedly lengthy Dark Ambient piece, it rounds things off very well indeed.
Truth be told I’m hard pushed to find fault with this record. It has the perfect balance between old school worship to please the ‘vltra kvlt’ and enough accessibility to usher in newcomers to the Black Metal genre. It also exhibits and explores variations upon broader Black Metal themes via Folk Metal, Melodic Black Metal, Symphonic Black Metal and Dark Ambient. This is a real crowd pleaser and something that I can see myself listening to time and time again a real winner from this underrated Black Metal force.
(9/10 George Caley)