TEITANBLOOD: The Baneful Choir
Release year: 2019
Label: Norma Evangelium Diaboli
There’s a whole subtype of extreme metal based on the rabid, bestial black metal of death pioneered by legendary acts such as Beherit and Blasphemy in the late 80’s and early 90’s; bands, whose riffs aren’t so much notes and chords as an unrelenting chaos, and whose soundscapes are torrents of satanic chaos rather that conventional metal. In a way, it is an unlikely scene, considering the seeming narrowness of the expression, but in another way, a very obvious scene to exist considering the uniqueness of the sound, and how small the original body of material is. Of course those swearing in its name want more!
Teitanblood from Spain are, then, one of the acts spawning their abominations from that pool of primordial filth. Since their inception in 2003, they’ve risen to become one of the more recognized groups operating in the field. And not without reason, as one can conclude upon listening to their material.
Their take on extreme metal is cavernous, subterranean, bestial and rumbling, like a satanic thunder from the bowels of the earth. Ultimately, purely musically, this can as well be called black metal as death metal. It is down-tuned, buzzing, buzzsawing, blasting and rumbling, very much like I imagine Beherit would have sounded on their seminal The Oath Of Black Blood had they had the budget and resources for decent production. The vocals are the bark of a hound of hell and the guitars are a wall of distorted, chaotic noise, and the occasional solo sounds like vintage balls-to-the-wall Slayer solos dialed up to 11. Teitanblood’s bestial metal harks spiritually back to the primogenitors of second wave black metal, those bands in whose music death metal was just as an essential building block as nascent black metal.
And it is glorious in its swirling maelstrom of chaos. True, the songs sound pretty much alike each other, and you can’t make out too many of the riffs, and you’ve a creeping suspicion there’s more rabid energy here than sense or structure. But it’s glorious all the same in its slavering insanity, not despite it, but because of it. In the same way as the already mentioned Blasphemy and early Beherit were.
So. Favourite songs? Beats me, I can’t really tell them apart even after repeated listenings. Memorable riffs? Not a lot of them. Standout moments? Uhh… don’t ask me. Final verdict? Good.
In the niché of a genre that at least at one time was sorely overpopulated, Teitanblood stand out because they do what they do with style and without compromise. Lacing their bestial black metal with choice moments of foreboding dark ambience, with The Baneful Choir the Spaniards have created a powerful slab of pitch-black darkness that feels oppressive, raging and utterly, utterly apocalyptic. And what’s particularly impressive is, that they’ve been doing this for over 15 years without running out of steam.