Bandcamp stream: Link
It’s been over 20 years since Transylvanian Hunger was unleashed upon the world, yet there is still no sign of the impact and influence of that landmark record being reduced as time goes by. Sure, there are always plenty of evolutionary niches for black metal to explore, and the endless appetite for experimentation amongst some of the disciples of this particular grim art is one of the genre’s strengths. Yet there will always be those who adhere to the blueprints laid down so long ago, and as long as the music created is as strong as that by Tenebrositas on the one-man band’s latest demo, Black is the Empire of Torture and Despair, such orthodoxy will always be welcomed.
The influences will be clear to anyone familiar with classic black metal, and are admitted as such by the sole member himself. The influence of Transylvanian Hunger is obvious, not just in the riffs, drumming, and vocals, but also in the wonderfully raw and cold production, which is absolutely perfect for this style of black metal. There’s no real surprises, and everything here should be familiar to any fan of the style. What this kind of black metal lives or dies by, though, is the quality of the riffs and their structures, and Black is the Empire of Torture and Despair impresses in that respect. Each of these songs taps in to that certain something that makes primitive, raw black metal so appealing, that dark mixture of barbarity and nobility that characterises the best examples of this style. As good as they are though, there isn’t much to distinguish the three tracks from one another, yet that’s not a major complaint given that variety is not what this style is about.
The only major disappointment about this demo is that it’s just that: a demo, lasting a little over 10 minutes. Just as it sinks its fangs in to you it’s over, leaving you wanting more: not such a terrible thing when you can just listen to it again, I admit, but it does leave me hoping that a new, longer release will follow soon. Until then, you can satisfy your dark heart via Bandcamp, where Black is the Empire of Torture and Despair can be streamed and downloaded for free, as can previous release Toward the Solemn Realm of the Prophet’s Twilight.