Origin: Alhambra, California, USA
Genre: Black Metal
Label: Lupus Lounge
The reality of the USBM scene as it stands today – one of the international stage’s most innovative and ever-shifting movements – wouldn’t be what it is without the work of Scott Connor and his brainchild Xasthur. Alongside Judas Iscariot, Leviathan and Krieg, this institution set the stage in the 90s; solidifying an identity for said scene, all the while as second-wave Scandinavian domination took its grip. Boasting one of black metal’s most prolific yet unconventional discographies; one that has seen the project take on a few different identities, Xasthur has kept fans of black metal in a state of bewilderment since the beginning. Now, as the pages of black metal history are being turned ever-more-frequently in what’s become an early-90s worshiping international scene, Xasthur have emerged from the void with a new volume of instrumental shadow spells in “Inevitability Dark”.
“Inevitably Dark” is what feels like the product of deep thought and reflection; the kind of internalization that no doubt brings to the surface an intense myriad of emotions from fear to depression and basically every ill state of being in between. Panic and dismay feel like the dominating states of mind here, as tracks like “A Future to Fear II” and “Abandoned Intuition” play out like soundtracks to very bleak and starkly horrifying existences. In this new Dark Age where absurdity dominates wisdom and all have succumbed to hysteria, it seems that “Inevitably Dark” couldn’t have arrived at a more proper time. A foreshadowing of further descent into madness is “Inevitably Dark” but also a celebration of the obscure: “Euphoric Bad Trip” and “Hypnotized By Lies” to see you on your way into fantastical contemplative realms where complex acoustical arrangements and jazzy percussive sounds emanate into a canopy of mysteriously visceral black metal. Downright playful during some parts and utterly miserable during others, “Inevitably Dark” provides an unpredictable experience for the taker in, but unfortunately, a boring one as well. One hour and 46 minutes worth of what should only be about 40 minutes worth of mind-raping takes place here and considering the none-too-palatable nature of the album, it’s just not reasonable to expect even the most artsy-fartsy of BM enthusiasts to sit through this entire thing. The talent and passion are there, but overall, “Inevitably Dark” is a work of audacity in expectation.
A pushing of the limits as far as what should be acceptable within the sphere of black metal recording. It’s not like these types of albums are something new, but I can think of many that are just a lot more interesting and don’t expect so much from the listener. Some parts of the album offer nothing more than repetitive tinkering, while others just leave you in a perpetual state of falling asleep. In fact, that’s probably one of the entirety of the album’s most redeemable qualities. Yes, “Inevitably Dark” will ease you into that state of vulnerability where sleep can finally take you. Yay…
Disjointed, awkward and unappealing in every possible way, Xasthur’s latest is a gamble lost, a failed experiment and an exercise in redundancy. With the state of black metal being what it is today, it really makes you wonder why anyone would release something so risky. Don’t we have enough to endure? Why would you want your fans to subject themselves to such thoughtless self-indulgence and sonic masturbation? A Head-scratcher here that opened up with some promise, but ultimately failed to hit even the most exposed of sweet spots. In short, I feel like black metal is better off without pretentious recordings like “Inevitably Dark” and my heart goes out to anyone who has chosen to introduce themselves to Xasthur with this particular album.
The BMZ rating: 5/10
Experience “Inevitably Dark” by Xasthur right here as presented by Prophecy Productions:
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