From the Back of the Rack is a new column that looks at potentially overlooked releases from the month prior.

In just five years, Esoctrilihum have become established as one of the leading forces in the extreme metal underground. Their unique brand of tormented blackened death metal has cascaded across six increasingly excellent albums via I, Voidhanger Records while the shadowy figure behind the band, Asthagul, has proven himself to be one of the great new talents in the scene. On his latest offering Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath, the masterful songwriting shines as some of Asthagul’s best in his career, the quality of the execution has only improved and of course, the overarching vision and story that Esoctrilihum seeks to tell with their work has only become more wonderfully demented. Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath distills so much of what makes this band great, allowing listeners to immerse themselves in the overarching torment of the band.

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Splaying out over nearly 80 minutes of music, Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath is certainly not for the faint of heart. While Esoctrilihum is known for having lengthy albums (their shortest offering, 2018’s Inhuma, speeds by in 55 minutes) this is their longest record to date. However – if you are willing to take the plunge it rapidly becomes clear that it is worth the time. This is perhaps the most dynamic Esoctrilihum offering of their career: there are moments of ferocious black metal fury, as on "Xuiotg" but also more ambient tracks like "Craanag." The interplay of shadow and the willingness to experiment makes this a compelling record. It proves that even with Esoctrilihum’s hectic pace of release, they can still uncover new sides of the sound and build on them in a meaningful way. Very few bands can do that with the same aplomb.

None of this would be possible without some significantly improved execution and production. The willingness to experiment is of course important here, but so is the quality of the playing. There must have been endless takes needed to nail a mind bending track like "Tyurh" or the avant-garde half drunken brilliance of "Hjh’at." That being said – the drum sounds still leave something to be desired. They’re quite clearly programmed, and while on some tracks this works fine, on others like "Agakuh" it borders on distracting. On some level that’s part of the appeal of this band: that Asthagul really is 'that guy'. He is devoutly crafting black metal that stays true to the DIY spirit – no matter what you think. Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath is compelling throughout because of his ability to execute on fascinating ideas, whilst keeping them authentic to a black metal mindset. When coupled with the unique story fueling the music, it becomes truly remarkable stuff.

Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath plays out across four sections with three tracks each. It tells an epic story of the death, transfiguration, and rebirth of the Serpent Telepath. For the uninitiated, the Serpent Telepath is one of the many potent beings that inhabit the horrifying worlds painted by Esoctrilihum. The story plays out as a sort of epic torn between tortured imagery and psychotic struggle. The themes of astral projection and spiritual unrest make for some compelling listening and add an extra dimension to the unholy conjurations found within this record. When taken with the rest of the music, it makes sense as an overarching theme and seems to find its place very nicely in the complex layers that Esoctrilihum so grimly paint.

If this complexity piques your interest, then join me in losing yourself in Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath. Esoctrilihum have unveiled layers here that point towards ever grander and more ambitious futures for the project. Asthagul's heightened songwriting and impressively refined execution allows him to take Esoctrilihum to new horizons. These songs belie a new level of technical ecstasy on his part, and framed within the larger story, the record becomes a delightfully transcendent experience. Indulging in every aspect of this masterpiece is a delight - it’s a monument to inhumanity and one that will make devout listeners come back for spin after spin.

—Matt Bacon

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Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath released May 21st, 2021 via I, Voidhanger Records.