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Vilkacis and Turia: Two Refractions of Black Metal’s Prism


Having been first announced in an interview with Michael Rekevics which was first published here, the split album between his Vilkacis and the mysterious Haeresis Noviomagi circle’s Turia has been a source of intrigue and impatience here at Invisible Oranges.

It has been a busy past year for both artists involved. Rekevics has been touring for the last Yellow Eyes album (Immersion Trench Reverie) and recently released the debut Vilkacis full-length album (Beyond the Mortal Gate) — a long-awaited beast. Even with Rekevics’s prolific nature, business means something even more for the Dutch Haeresis Noviomagi.

For the uninitiated, this small group of artists, comprised of Turia, Lubbert Das, and Iskandr (more will probably surface over time), churns out release after release of some of the most intriguing black metal out there. Somewhere in the miasma between the Czral-directed bass oddify of Iskandr, Lubbert Das’s wanton fury, and Turia’s subtle rock inflection, Haeresis Noviomagi’s concentrated center of talented musicians makes for a core identity of surrealism and ascension. Together, placing Vilkacis and Turia’s works side by side in an individual release acts as a sort of compass for black metal in the current year, a snapshot of two distant ends of the genre. Listen to an exclusive stream of the release below.

On the stylistically conservative end is Rekevics, whose Vilkacis project is stalwart and warlike, continuing an evolution which grows further and further toward Poland’s underground in 1994 with each new release. As such, Vilkacis balances ferocity with a distinctly tragic melodic aura. Since this is a project about being a werewolf, Rekevics communicates an immense sadness which comes with uncontrollably transforming into a vicious man-beast with each full moon, at least somewhere beneath the violence and triumph which defines his music. The two songs which comprise his half of the split find themselves split, erring toward one side (war and triumph — “In the Night’s Grip”) or the other (sadness and tragedy — “Final March to Flame”), which makes for an unexpected primer on both Vilkacis and Polish-style black metal as a whole.

Turia find themselves representing the future of black metal’s adventurous side, at least within the raw prism of the pseudo-traditional. As is the case with Dor and Dede kondre which preceded it, Turia’s long-form half builds with a fierce black metal enormity, but hides its true self beneath the blasting and fuzz. Beneath all the “black” of Turia’s side is the surprising core of… psychedelic rock and raga music. There are these infectious, pseudo-Hindustani (North Indian) melodies which slowly work their way into the music until suddenly pushed to the forefront as the buzz is slowly decreased as an odd climax emerges. It’s this strangeness and character which define Turia’s (and the Haeresis Noviomagi’s) music overall; the superficial can only communicate so much, and it is the job of the listener to discover what true identity lies beneath.

It can be said that this idea of “identity” defines the two halves of this split album, with Vilkacis splitting itself into two equal halves of “self” and Turia slowly “lifting the veil” on its more experimental inner self, but black metal has been so stuck on its own groupthink identity since its not so humble beginnings. Why not take identity and turn it on its head? These two (relatively) young projects certainly embrace the art of the subtlety of newness and anti-reactionary musical behavior, favoring identity over mass Jungian mania. It is truly refreshing.

The Vilkacis and Turia split album will be released this Friday, June 8th, on Altare Productions (LP), Haeresis Noviomagi (EU cassette), and Psychic Violence (US cassette).

Follow Vilkacis on Bandcamp.

Follow Turia on Facebook and Bandcamp.

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