Thantifaxath – Sacred White Noise (2014)

thantifaxath_-_sacred_white_noise

The audience for this album are the same people who are fooled by magic shows at carnivals, speak in tongues at revivals, buy the latest iGadget sight unseen, and smoke in bed. If you claim to like this album, you are either not paying attention or merely a fool. Like every sell out, it is designed to cater to the lowest common denominator, which generally recruits idiots.

Thantifaxath combine trivialist “progressive,” minor key black metal riffs, and indie rock to make what they call “depressive suicidal black metal.” Songs start with basic black metal-ish riffs, but instead of featuring a varied internal texture, these are uniform with an equal number of strums per chord and chords generally changing on the beat, creating a drone effect. The band then play “progressive” riffs that amount to showy but not all that complex guitar and sonic technique used as distraction, and then get to the main point, which is minor key indie-rock riffs that feature the hook to the song. If you can imagine LSD guitar practice plus a basement black metal band ending up in a cover of someting off Daydream Nation, that is the sum total of Thantifaxath.

While the sin committed by Sacred White Noise is insincerity, its musical failing comes from being essentially contentless and relying on fireworks or pop techniques to fill in the void. What does this album communicate? According to people who claim to love DSBM, they find an emotional rush from this in realizing how horrible life truly is. But how is that different from emo? Late 80s emo achieved the same thing but it kept the pop more visible, so it could cry through the tears, as the saying went. This band wallows in its sadness and then plays random music over the top to distract from how fundamentally simple it is.

Thantifaxath use questionable “black metal” riffs. The riffing is essentially static such as that which bands like Nile or Necrophagist used, where the point was to play a chord in a certain rhythmic pattern and then add an extended fill so it seemed like a death metal riff, despite having more in common with Elvis or Lynyrd Skynyrd than death metal. These parallel the “progressive” playing, which seems to focus on finding a whacky guitar technique (whacky: odd, ironic, rarely used — because it is useless for expressing anything but musical confusion) and repeating it at different notes quickly and erratically. Sometimes this becomes comical when these patterns resemble familiar phone numbers or radio jingles. Its indie rock is clearly its heart, because the full melodic hook comes out here, but it does not distinguish itself from thousands of other bands in this area.

In summary, Thantifaxath create directionless melodic wandering at a slow pace with a hookish atmosphere in three styles, doing none well and fooling only those who have no particular ability to pay attention for prolonged periods of time. At its best, its melodies resemble the wandering style that Celestia brought out, but this style owes more to lack of purpose than to any idea or feeling it communicates. An astute observer will notice that for all of its supposed variation, this album expresses only one mood and it never changes — only is interrupted by distraction — and that it applies technique uniformly to create sonic wallpaper from even the most “different” pieces. To its audience, who apparently are so deep in self-pity that “depressive suicidal black metal” seems important, I have a word of advice: cut harder.

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41 thoughts on “Thantifaxath – Sacred White Noise (2014)”

  1. LostInTheANUS says:

    How cum nowadays it’s so easy to tell apart shitty from potentially good metal by just looking at the cover?

    1. The covers are advertising. People who like music like this look for covers like this one.

  2. Richard Head says:

    As a genre dsbm sucks miles of cock. More liek depressive suicidal bowel movement.

    1. Is there any good DSBM? Seems a lot like NSBM: very internally similar, droning, no change in mood or song development.

      1. Richard Head says:

        I found Nocturnal Depression to have some reasonably impactful songs. Xasthur has a couple albums that are well executed but excruciating to sit through if you aren’t exactly in the right mood to listen.

        So, really, no. All dsbm bands should get on with it and rid the worldwide metal situation of a good percentage of total bullshit. Next, we move on to tech/prog death metal.

        1. Ara says:

          Hey now, haha

          1. Richard Head says:

            Repent or die, you fucking heretic.

            Actually I like Ara. I’m talking about Rings of Saturn type stuff.

            1. Ara says:

              My friend toured with Rings of Saturn. He said they were the worst people on Earth.

              1. Robert says:

                I’ve talked to one of the members of Rings of Saturn online. I’ve never even met him and I wanted to punch him in the face. On top of that, their music is sh*t.

      2. Timothy Cummings says:

        But Brett, Autothrall from the Metal Archives gave this album a solid 93%. Isn’t that supposed to mean something?

  3. Chris says:

    I looked at the cover before reading the review, and knew exactly what it was.

  4. I blew my head off like Per Ohlin says:

    That first track was fucking annoying.

  5. Ara says:

    Under the “if you claim to like this album” part, you forgot to include “perhaps you care more about the music on this record than the sacred bounds of rigid musical genres.”

    As for the record expressing only one mood, that didn’t bother anyone here on Godless Arrogance. You probably didn’t happen to like this particular mood, and that’s fine, but blanket statements about fans of the band are silly. While we’re on Mike Judge stuff, do you own a Jump-to-Conclusions Mat? I’m one song into the record and find it interesting, and it utilizes the same tonal phrases as Demilich, only since it creates the mortal sin of doing anything interesting under a (for some reason) black metal umbrella it’s labeled as indie rock. I know articles are written here to cull entertainment from the shock of skewering pop culture but just because there are discordant single note riffs instead of minor chord trems for a record’s entirety doesn’t mean it’s indie rock. It may ease your mind to protect a genre more through discrediting a record’s entry into it but if you are allergic to jangly guitars, let the audience know that instead of letting your personal tastes obscure what may be positives on the album in question. I don’t listen to indie rock, but I highly doubt that cherubic androdge you keep posting in the SJW articles finds the discordant melodies here appealing.

    1. The Spine says:

      It’s interesting that you would choose to critique this review being only ‘one song into the record’, while the reviewer has listened to the album in it’s entirety, probably more than once, if we are to believe the earlier article about this site’s reviewing regimen.

      I don’t listen to Indie Rock either and would never have though the music in this album has any parallels outside of Metal and Progressive Rock. Imagine those comparisons are a bit of a stretch. This album is clearly not inventive or interesting in the slightest. The central themes are scalic and predictable and the only variations are discordant tangents which are not the building blocks for riffs that carry a song.

      On mood, I don’t think the argument is to say something like ‘Godless Arrogance’ or ‘Blizzard Beasts’ covers the gamut of human experience, but at least each song reflects the same basic energy through a range of strong riffs and themes which progress and unfold in a logical fashion.

      If there was ever an issue with a techniques such as ‘jangly guitars’ and ‘discordant single note riffs’, I don’t think the likes of Averse Sefira would be held in such esteem by this site (ignoring the bias of their locale). Wouldn’t anybody with a decent amount of exposure to Metal from the last 10 years be able to conclude that the portrayal of techniques in this album is pretty contrived? There’s nothing to gain from giving albums like this ‘a chance’ – it’s been done to death since the first wave of DSBM bands. ‘Sacred White Noise’ is ultimately an amalgamation of the blandest of recent Metal like Darkspace, Dark Tribe, Deafheaven, Blut Aus Nord and ‘Post-Metal’.

      1. DSBM is wretched. Emo black metal.

      2. Ara says:

        I’m almost through the record. I’ll agree that it is quite one-dimensional, but 99% of all albums are and the ones that aren’t most likely mash genres together to create the illusion of multiple dimensions which can be a compositional fault and as evidenced by any band reviewed here that does so, is not ever praised because it “obscures their communication” or so on. When I hear an idea like this done well, I take that to be their message and not a roadblock in front of it. Anyway, my biggest gripe here is when a song is introduced with a violin theme or something and the rest of the track doesn’t touch on that theme at all. A lot of the movements are chromatic and the band likes to play with how you expect a melody will resolve and deliberately goes an adjacent path. I found this to be unpredictable many times although I’m sure the counter argument here is that the band is predictable in its unpredictability. Either way, I would be damn impressed if you were able to hear where a melody was going here before it happens. I think when you say “predictable” you may refer to the style rather than the actual note choice, which I found to be interesting. Despite the at times meandering arrangements the band tends to build climaxes quite well and songs feel like they end conclusively. This is a band who does some things surprisingly well but does need work, but calling it a sell out (they have one demo before this) and pigeonholing their fans based on their sound instead of their substance is what irks me about the article. The “sound” may be popular in the modern black metal bands but I like to hear discordance in metal and as a strident genre that element should always be there. I feel that the approach is chastised before the note choice is considered.

        1. Ara says:

          A further problem I have is that the articles here tend to allow the xenophobic fear of hipster guys erasing the past tends to come first before a record is objectively viewed. And when you call someone that approaches this atyle a sell out you are assuming that they are not inspired by their product, and further that they should be inspired by what inspires you as a critic. This is a problem when you approach records from a “music is not subjective” standpoint. You don’t know the band, and unless it’s glaringly obvious as in the case of metalcore and such, you don’t know what motivates them.

        2. fenrir says:

          I like your (this) review of the album more than Cory’s.

          and I think this is one of the main points here :
          ” the band is predictable in its unpredictability. ”

          Sort of like that Deathspell Omega bullshit.

    2. Phil says:

      Most of the time this album plods along miserably with those feeble landscape riffs. Note changes within those riffs may as well be arbitrary. Come on man, this is shitty arsemusic. The “mood” feels like I’m staring into space.

      Godless Arrogance takes you by the throat and throttles you.

      1. Ara says:

        I liked Godless Arrogance, more than this, but they are different records that are both one dimensional and I don’t think that should be a valid criticism. No classic metal record that is well respected is multidimensional.

        1. Ara says:

          I also don’t see how this fits in with DSBM. Does the band consider themselves to be that? There is a mood here, but it is definitely not despair.

    3. fenrir says:

      your criticism on the review is valid, in my opinion.

      I think Cory attacked the album on the wrong terms. The album is postmodern rubbish and it is a second-rate album for many other reasons.

      Mentioning the mood and other extremely emotionally-based remarks have no validity.

    4. Black Commentary says:

      “perhaps you care more about the music on this record than the sacred bounds of rigid musical genres.”

      You forget that the site is helmed by a Neoplatonic leaning Monist. The Noetic Cosmos – world of forms – is the first emanation out of the Absolute and is “more real” than the material. In plain terms, Abstractions such as genre categorization are treated as things in themselves rather than heuristic boxes drawn around reality to understand it with our little monkey brains as per Aristotle.

      What this means to folks following such beliefs is that an essence exists for death or black metal which precedes each instance – albums in the genres. The goal of DMU is to encourage musicians to create more puressent music.

      What this adds up to is an unbreachable difference of perspective.

      1. BB says:

        You’re expressing (here and on other threads) much more eloquently (and probably knowledgable) what I have always thought about the philosophical stance of Brett.

        I’m interested in how he would defend the essentialism you describe: – in yet other words – the idea that some (including Brett) state/see (objective) Truth where others state/see (subjective) truth claims. Such an explanation should incorporate an absolute guarantee against possible blind spots in Brett’s thinking, or otherwise fail.

        In my perspective there is no need to talk about Absolutes in other than mathematical terms (or in such a bloated sense as in the caveat below that they amount to nothing more than to claim reality is real, or things exists, etc., which are givens to begin with).
        Reality (with capital R, so you wish), is already complex and absolute enough to think and talk about. So, another question for Platonic Monists reading this: why add something to the discussion that mostly obfuscates? Why resort to magical/mystic ways of thinking – ways that are essentially anti-language and inherently unknowable? Why not keep Occam in mind?

        Caveat: broadly defined, I’m a monist too – in the sense that the only relevant reality we have access to is probably made up of matter and energy (which are probably emanations of the same One thing as far as we know), and in the sense that the reality we experience can be considered as One thing too.

        1. Ara says:

          Huh. And all this time I thought all of reality was excreted by a space monster into volcanos or something.

        2. Black Commentary says:

          The diagnosis is fairly simple:

          Essentialism is the result of heavy investment in the logical method. In short form: the logical method works exceedingly well in taking smaller representative systems or components of a larger system and goes about reasoning through the system as a function of individual variables. Where the logical method falls apart is in reasoning about whole systems where variables are interdependent and considerably more numerous.

          And so, any given system is seen as a sum of its parts. The parts are are thus percieved as individual, self contained, entities. It’s common to see an ecosystem and say, yes dinosaurs have dinosaurness. However from a broad perspective, that essense is transitory. Changes in biology and environment gradually saw the Dino’s become birds in an incremental process. In that process of responding to systematic changes, the reconfigurating Dino’s were imparting their own feedback, influencing the system. Round and round it goes.

          I argue that change and interdependence rule out essentialism as a reliable ontological position. The Law of Identity is likewise easily discorded as an absolute truth.

        3. Dualist says:

          I don’t think anything Brett has written suggests he’s a Monist; and as ANUS used to lionise Nietzsche he can’t be much of a metaphysical Platonist. If anything, his writings on metal could be better described by Aristotelian Realism. As he often mentions being reality-based I don’t think he would believe that Universals have an independent existence of their own.

          @ BB

          Even if matter and energy are composed of the same substance what about space and time? Are they the same substance too? And what substance is consciousness, if any….

          Occam in mind? Yes, he held that Universals are simply the product of abstract human thought but why do put his opinion before those of other philosophers?

          Isn’t it strange that all those Reductionists who claim to be purely scientific are prepared make an act of faith when it comes to explaining consciousness: ‘I have no idea what consciousness even is but I’m so completely sure that, one day, science will be able to explain how the movement of dissolved salts in a bag of water (the brain) can become self aware that I feel able to mock those who believe it is a fundamentally different substance than matter’?

          What are your thoughts on the soul, Black Commentary?

          1. Dualist says:

            I’d also missed your response to my arguments from the metalgate podcast #2 thread but I’ve now posted a reply. If you want to continue that discussion do it here, if you don’t mind. I’d be particularly interested to hear your fundamental philosophical position, briefly if you’re short on time.

          2. BB says:

            The way I see, it space and time are results (or properties) of matter/energy: the fact that matter/energy changes, reacts, combines, expands.

            On Occam: I meant Occam’s razor, I should’ve been more specific.

            On consciousness:
            I do not claim one day science will be able to explain everything fully (not consciousness, nor reality). Science is our most useful method for trying to approximate objectivity, not a sure way to absolute Truth. Science inherently acknowledges this, and is open to change and suggestion for advancement.

            Consciousness is just a monitoring device. Since it gives rise to the powerful illusion of free will, it is also the cause of much morally flawed thinking, failing to acknowledge cause and focussing instead on result, which is mostly a waste of energy.

            What does the concept of the soul add or explain? “Soul” is just shorthand for “the processes in my own brain that I don’t understand enough”. If the soul is something non-scientific, it can’t be talked about objectively, just experienced. Yet our brain/consciousness can be experienced too, so we’re back to square one.

          3. Black Commentary says:

            Nah he’s said it a few times. I know for sure at least once under the Conservatist moniker.

            1. Dualist says:

              Me? I’m not Conservatist.

              @BB

              I knew you meant the Razor but the question still holds.

              By the way I wasn’t aiming the question about reductionism at you, it was a general point. But:

              “The way I see, it space and time are results (or properties) of matter/energy: the fact that matter/energy changes, reacts, combines, expands.”

              The first sentence may be or may not be correct. But I’m sure you’d agree the rest is not a scientific hypothesis of any sort. Seriously, if you could justify those statements in mathematical and experimentally-falsifiable terms you would win the next Nobel Prize. But when you use words like ‘combines’ or’ expands’ does not that presuppose the energy was doing that IN something – space-time? You could just as easily say that energy is caused by vibrations on space-time or other unscientific statements – but nobody knows how to proceed along those lines (I’m working on it though… ;-) I studied theoretical physics at probably the world’s elite university and I would freely admit that nobody has an idea what mass/energy or space-time really ARE. Many/most would write it off as unscientific even to ask (especially the mindless Instrumentalist.)

              As for consciousness, now we’re heading into even deeper waters. I never said the soul was necessarily non-scientific just that it may consist of a fundamentally different substance than matter/energy – but here’s one reason why it may be. All of our knowledge and theories are done BY/IN TERMS OF a consciousness, if you get me. What I’m trying to say is: even if consciousness is just a product of matter performing computational operations it may well be that the machine inherently cannot describe/measure ITSELF. Scientific means it could me measured. It may be FUNDAMENTALLY impossible.

              One neuron isn’t conscious. A thousand neurons aren’t conscious. So how does the subjective experience of self-awareness arise as we increase the number? Many would say that it consciousness is an emergent property that becomes apparent at higher levels of organisation but this just begs the question. It may be that brains are required FOR consciousness but the sum total of neuronal activity isn’t the consciousness ITSELF – this is the view of those like David Chalmers (who, irrelevantly, is a metalhead, I think). Few since Descartes would claim there’s no connection between the two – otherwise smoking a J wouldn’t affect us and it would be hard to understand how we could control our bodies. I personally believe that the collapse of the wave-function in quantum mechanics implies the existence of a conscious observer that is not a quantum system in itself – but I’m far from sure.

              Even if you don’t have a scientific background you might enjoy reading Penrose’s The Emperor’s New Mind which looks at some of these points from just one perspective. In it he argues that some of the actions performed by humans, producing certain mathematical proofs and apprehending certain non-computable mathematical objects as two examples, seems to violate Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem(s) and hence shows that consciousness can’t be the product of a mere machine. All I do know is that consciousness isn’t JUST anything….

              As for free will I have no hypothesis as I don’t even know what consciousness IS. But a few things can be said. Even if the soul has a reductionist explanation it seems that the vast number of variables (in a manner not dissimilar but different to Black Commentary’s points above) and possible non-linearity (chaos-like effects) would make predicting someone’s actions (or your own for that matter) impossible for all intents and purposes. So we would have free will IN EFFECT. If quantum effect come into play – as Penrose, for one, thinks they do – then consciousness would be inherently unpredictable. So we would have genuine free will.

              But who knows? Anybody who claims to be sure that consciousness OBVIOUSLY has a reductionist explanation is either being dishonest or hasn’t grasped the issues deeply enough.

              1. BB says:

                The way I understood it, time and space only started to exist because of matter/energy. I’m not a physicist though, so can’t argue fully. I agree it’s is all pretty much mysterious.

                Unpredictable and/or indescribable does not equal free, not even in effect. You simply cannot go from the first to the latter.
                Not even when quantum effects might come into play, even then there is still causation. To suppose a ‘true’ free will would be to suppose a will that escapes the cause-result chain.
                Of course, some people are more free than others (e.g. addicts vs. non-addicts), and have better control over their actions, but that still doesn’t mean anbody has free will: those that have better control don’t have it because of free will, but better genes and/or eduction (not self-determination). In other words: the will cannot will itself in absolute freedom. In that sense, the existence of the freedom of the will is binary: it’s either the case, or it isn’t.

                It seems obvious to me that we will never be able to measure ourselves. My hunch would indeed be it may be fundamentally impossible, indeed. That doesn’t mean we can’t approximate, and say a lot of relevant, valid things anyhow.

                1. Dualist says:

                  It’s a good point you make about unpredictability not equaling free-will. The main idea against free will is that the motion of (classical) matter is deterministic hence if consciousness is just a particularly ordered motion of matter then it must also be deterministic.

                  What I was saying that if quantum effects play a part, which are INHERENTLY probabilistic as opposed to deterministic, then consciousness would not be deterministic.

                  However, I agree that still doesn’t seem to equal free will as we normally understand the term. Instead of being slaves to the laws of classical physics we would just instead be ruled by those of quantum mechanics. It would just be that our behaviour would not be predictable, even in principle, even if we had a machine that could measure the position/momentum of every particle it was composed of.

                  Deep waters. I’ll have to have a good ol’ think about it all….

                  I’ll get back to you if I have any decent ideas. That’s probably unlikely though as I presume you would need to understand how consciousness itself arises before you could include how effects at the atomic level could affect it! Thanks for that, man.

                  Into the Infinity of Thoughts….

                  1. BB says:

                    This is an excellent text on the subject:
                    http://www.pnas.org/content/107/10/4499.full

  6. Stoner says:

    Forgotton Tomb was one I thought was ok…but then I just figured if I want to listen to long black metal songs that aren’t monotonous and irritating, I’d just put on some Windir or Summoning or something of that nature

  7. Negru Voda says:

    What is this faggot music?
    This shitty album is too fucking gay. What was the point in reviewing this tepid emo shit again?

    1. What was the point in reviewing this tepid emo shit again?

      Last time we reviewed a band like this, you sent flowers.

      1. Negru Voda says:

        Ok then.

        You convinced me. Now please put your cock in my mouth.

  8. aaa says:

    I enjoyed this album, but I much more enjoyed this review. I felt the band was too hyped by others, and this is probably what prompted this review. Anyway, thank you. I hate when reviewers are scared of being contrarian.

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