Thy Darkened Shade, Black, Greece, W.T.C. Productions, News, 2023, Columns, Voices From The Underground

Genre: Black Metal
Country: Greece
Label: W.T.C.
Year: 10/01/2023

I will not make the slightest attempt to be objective, nor to describe academically what I heard. These are just my thoughts, while listening.

Do you know the feeling when you are faced with something great, with something unique? ‘Luciftias’ creates this feeling of awe, an evocative atmosphere right from the beginning, with an alternation of epic and dark vocals that drags you deep into the new unholy chapter of Thy Darkened Shade. ‘Liber Lvcifer II: Mahapralaya’ doesn’t hit your senses directly, it seduces your heart. It’s the music piece that King Diamond hid in his drawer, but was afraid to release.

Just for a moment, though, because the kick is right at the corner and catches you off guard. ‘Sacrosanct Pyre’ reminds you why black metal has always been heavy metal’s greatest artistic hope, untamed, enchanting, abysmal. A musical composition reminiscent of a spider’s web that methodically stretches out to ensnare you, never losing touch with the melody, just like a mini-black opera. The bass has some of De Maio’s darkest moments, holding tight to the secret of steel, like the gift of the gods to men.

The introduction of ‘Into Eerie Catacombs’, despite coming a little earlier than the album’s release, fits perfectly into the new album, raising the tension dangerously. Let’s descent in the catacombs, where the listener is now surrendered to the wild moods of Thy Darkened Shade who carry within them the DNA of Morbid Angel, always through their own melting pot of sounds and ideas. The riffs in the middle of the track literally paint the darkest pictures, Shade’s compositions resemble a canvas, only instead of colors, it consists of notes.

The overall rhythm slows down now, as it is necessary to endure this otherworldly journey. The melody of ‘Sathanasstasis’ cuts like a razor, raising Euronymous from the grave, to proudly greet his spiritual children. At this point, Thy Darkened Shade doesn’t hide either musically or lyrically, they don’t conceal their black art, they preach chaos, invoke destruction and dress their track appropriately for the occasion.

The structures of the songs are both traditional and progressive, it is a combination that is truly shocking. Nowhere is this element more evident than in ‘Qelippot Epiphany’, which is more or less the continuation of ‘Bridge of Death’, it is the other end of the bridge and comes right in the middle of the record. The Greek modern musical tradition infuses melodic lines with epic mood and drama, offering a mixture of uplift and dread. It is a call to overcome human fear and look up to the sky. It’s everything that heavy metal should be and too often, almost always, it fails.

‘Acausal Current of Thanatos’ is the moment of the record where your senses begin to solidify that ‘Mahapralaya’ is not just music, it is something more. Anyone can use any word they want, but I will choose the term “experience”. You feel that you understand what TDS wants to express, the pieces assimilate into each other, you begin to experience the artistic expression as a whole. ‘Acausal Current of Thanatos’ and ‘Veneration for the Fireborn King’ could be a small album by themselves, they seem like the natural continuation of each other, like the two acts of a play.

The closure feels like a storm raging, offering no relief and no redemption. ‘Noxious Witchery of the Titans’ hits you mercilessly, there’s no description of what’s going on inside the track, it’s a look into the distorting mirror, it’s a little labyrinth for your soul. The more you surrender to what you hear, the more you will understand. Truly, there are no words properly explaining the epic magnitude that TDS has given us here.

There is no completion, only new perspective with ‘Typhonian Temple’. You reach the end of the record to understand that this is the beginning of the journey, from a different starting point. If you let ‘Liber Lvcifer II: Mahapralaya’ carry you away, if you really listen to it, you won’t need any more words from me to understand what a great album it is.

It will now become a part of you, like any work of art, which leaves its mark over time and your soul. The ‘Scarlet Evil Witching Black’ of the new millennium and the best metal record of 2023, already.