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Strange Things: Arkheth Finds “A Place Under the Sun”

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A developed taste for the bizarre will imbue your soul with oodles of flavor-giving eclecticism. It involves unusual methodologies: seeking the strange, the outlandish, and the purposefully obtuse in roundabout and unconventional ways. For artists, this means destroying the box and the envelope altogether, and for consumers, it means crushing those pesky subconscious hangups about what things “should” sound like. Besides, widening musical perception and disarming expectations opens up portals to the juicy madness of cutting-edge concepts, esoteric structures, and super-psychedelic layers. Capturing this madness requires selecting the most powerful (read: extreme) ideas and weaving them into an experimental yet understandable latticework which can effectively draw in otherwise unaccustomed listeners. After all, you need to become strange before the strange begins to make sense.

Now comes Australian duo Arkheth with their third full-length 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew, a totally off-the-wall black metal album whose wicked complexity and hidden melody serves only to delight the purveying/curious mind. The project comprises Tyrone “Tyraenos” Kostitch (all instruments, except saxophone) and Glen Wholohan (saxophone) whose interplay bridges jazz-like tension and multi-layered harmony. We’ve seen saxophone-infused black metal before, but Wholohan’s approach is freshly postmodern without being overbearing. Check out an exclusive stream of the album’s triumphantly dramatic finale “A Place Under the Sun” below.

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Moodily sung vocals tear open “A Place Under the Sun,” setting its tone as somber and mysterious, aptly characterizing 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew‘s other four tracks. Harsh, underground shrieks introduce themselves at the midpoint amid a growing symphony which undulates, heading toward a passionate break into a saxophone solo backed by blast beats and ascending chord progressions. Charting the entire track, things die out, come back, die once again, and return yet once more for the fireworks — “A Place Under the Sun” may well be the album’s truest ballad and most rapturous song, asking for the entirety of the listener’s emotional reserves.

The path leading up to this point (two other tracks are streaming on the duo’s Bandcamp linked below, should you be so inclined) was weary and treacherous, with numerous hidden passages and seemingly unimportant asides. The truth, however, is that Arkheth gives meaning to every divergent avenue or ancillary idea, connecting them all back to 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew‘s character as a darkly playful and dangerously experimental album. When hideousness reigns in the realm of “unnecessary” complexity, it’s important to imbue each moment with a certain and peculiar beauty. Here, with their latest work, Arkheth uncovers the powerful idea that mere embellishments can be made critical and elemental through emotional intensity and a deft touch of weirdness.

From the band:

The inspiration for this album came directly from the ancient and unknown past the mankind and its connection to the Earth and Cosmos. The primary source was the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus and his path to enlightenment. This is an important chapter for Arkheth in its evolution both musically and on its journey as an entity that continually seeks a deeper knowledge and connection with the Cosmos.

12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew releases on February 20th via Transcending Obscurity Records. Follow Arkheth on Bandcamp here and Facebook here.

Arkheth

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