Friday, September 4, 2009

De Magia Veterum - Migda Bavel (2009)

Migda Bavel was my first exposure to Dutch De Magia Veterum, though I am familiar with 'M's other band, the noisier/experimental Gnaw Their Tongues. But not my last, as the material on this tape was compelling enough that I had to track down the backlog. As you might have guessed, this is a one man project, with 'M' handling everything from the instruments to the production. Migda Bavel is dense, raw, and quite fucking noisy, to the point where it borders on sheer emotional turbulence. It's also a beautiful work of expression with a flair for creepy discordant guitar lines and multiple layers of atmosphere.

The drum machine might turn some off this release, but find your focus within the bursts of caustic guitar rhythms and you can come to ignore them. "The Confusion of Tongues" is simply explosive, securing that De Magia Veterum may indeed be a European counterpart to our better one man black metal outfits like Leviathan and Xasthur. Chaotic and intense? Surely. But it's also interesting enough that you will want to listen back through numerous times to discern the nuance. By comparison, the title track feels more placid...and yet it still contains blasting rhythms, noisy strokes of the six strings, and 'M's carnivorous guttural raptor-like vocals. There is one point in the track, past the 2 minute mark, where it shifts into a driving discordant shoegaze rhythm, then breaks into this starkly original break with deep male choirs sailing into the distance, gnarled acoustics and utter darkness. "The Boat of Uta-Naphistim" is fast, furious and desperate, harsh sneers over grimy walls of bass guitar sewage and streams of bloodletting guitars and perky synthesizers.

As you can see, we are only three tracks into this album and it's already blown my mind. I would really like all of you to explore this material yourselves, because it is truly tormenting and fascinating. Thematically, the album seems to surround ancient Middle Eastern culture and mythology, but I haven't read the lyrics. I'll spoil that the remainder of the tape is also quite incredible, whether it's the ambient dementia of "Interlude I" and "II" or the shuddering intensity of "I Am the Vine" and "Below the Altar of Ra-Hoor-Khuit". Migda Bavel is a raw as fuck, personal release that delves into the mental anguish of one of Europe's best kept black little secrets.It's a revolutionary album that will appeal to fans of Leviathan, Xasthur and perhaps the more chaotic side of Blut Aus Nord. Mandatory listening for those that wish to challenge their perceptions of extremity, or simply ruin a good day.

Verdict: Epic Win [8.5/10]

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