Averse Sefira are a tough band to get into. Often, however, such bands ultimately offer the most satisfaction. And often in black metal, that satisfaction comes from discomfort. Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord are my touchstones for beautiful anxiety; but while they space out such unease, Averse Sefira apply it full-bore. The result is familiar yet not: blastbeats and rasps emanating from a parallel universe of alien tonalities.

Serpent Recoil

I’ve never heard a guitar player like Averse Sefira’s Sanguine. (Sanguine Mapsama, in full – what do he and bassist Wrath Sathariel Diabolus call each other in daylight?) Sometimes his axe claws at strange angles; sometimes it grumbles in lower registers. I have no idea where such skewed discordance comes from. When I talked to Wrath, he didn’t seem to know, either. Evidently, he and his drummer (“The Carcass”) have to keep Sanguine’s strangeness in check. The raw versions of these songs must be stupefyingly abstruse, as their final versions are still quite abstract.

The thick, clear production here accentuates such eccentricity. Watain’s Tore Stjerna mans the boards again, and he delivers Averse Sefira’s best sound yet. On 1999’s Homecoming’s March, the band emerged almost fully-formed; since then, it has been refining more than evolving. The long ambient interludes of yore are mostly gone. Songs are more direct, yet dig deeper with more varied speeds and feels. This band need not, and does not, hide behind murky sound. They’re loud, proud, and a little off – just how I like my metal.

Advent Parallax is available physically from Candlelight (with free poster), Relapse, and The End, and digitally from Amazon.

Wrath keeps a rather compelling blog here.