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The “Portals” to Candelabrum’s Corpse Magick

Busta Bauletto.eps

Some music sounds as if it was dug up from some ancient, buried crypt. A whiff of stale coffin air. Dry rotten and musty. Music which sounds like the idea of a place and the tangible feeling of a discovery rather than simply something to which one listens in passing. Candelabrum’s 2016 debut Necrotelepathy was one of those experiential albums — black metal which was rank and ancient, something awoken from an ancient stillness. Necrotelepathy was embodied the essence of shambling, finding its way into melodicism through sheer will; a ramshackle corpse forcing its way from the mausoleum into the night.

However, after Necrotelepathy, Candelabrum resealed themselves into the isolation of their marble acre. As is the case with most raw black metal artists, Candelabrum revels in this separation from society, and this Portuguese band follows suit. There is no creativity in sociability in these circles — raw black metal is the music of confinement and looking in from the outside. In the years leading up to their new album Portals, Candelabrum watched the moon rise and set through the door of their sealed tomb. Listen to a stream of Portals below.

Compared to its predecessor, Portals is a completely different animal altogether. Drawing upon the melodicism which pockmarked Necrotelepathy, Candelabrum zeros in on this single atmosphere and draws it out, offering four tracks of pure, obscure majesty to the void. They have escaped once more, but enshrouded, mystical, flowing — two shapes in the night illuminated by lunar light.

Whereas Necrotelepathy followed more recent rawness — that is to say, chaos and discordance punctuated by moments of grandeur — Portals finds its inspiration from times past. The darkness found here feels more genuinely ancient than manufactured, concentrating less on “falling apart” in favor of honing in on a more naturally “weathered” sound. Put into more obscure terms, if Necrotelepathy was the emergence of shambling corpses from an ancient tomb, Portals is the magick which makes them continually rise.

Ensconced with lucid keyboards, the hypnotic music of Candelabrum’s second proper full-length is reminiscent of the dark music of the mid-1990s — a time of mystical music, long before the revived fear of keyboards and symphonic grandeur. Nestling itself alongside the more atmospheric classics, Portals expresses itself through the duality of frigidity and comfort. Both harsh and warm, Portals‘s blustery magick is a sudden evolution, an underground artist randomly finding the beauty in their sound and fully concentrating on it. It is interesting to see Candelabrum change so abruptly, but… why do the same thing twice. Considering the singular nature of both Necrotelepathy and the The Gathering compendium, it seems only fair that Candelabrum find a new center. In an age of pure stagnation and musical conservatism in the underground, Portals contextualizes itself as a statement somehow grander than itself, concentrating on the beauty within their former horror.

Portals is out now on Altare Productions.

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