Nocturnal Poisoning
[Blood Fire Death]

Xasthur is a one-man black metal outfit from the western shores of the US and yet another fist in the face of the 'no good US black metal' idiots. I became familar with Xasthur after hearing their first album "A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors" and a couple of split releases, but none of that prepared me for the suicidal despondency that is "Nocturnal Poisoning", their second full-length CD. Songs are very long, the shortest being around six minutes. The sound is somewhat indistinct, as it all washes together with over-reverbed guitars and high vocals, almost whisper-y, somewhat buried in the mix. A fairly decent bass sound does provide some melodic guidance to the ear, though, so rather than being a puddle of mud it seems like a flowing, shimmering wash of sound. Slowish tempos and droning-type riffs akin to old Burzum and old Mutiilation keep this kind of flowing effect going. High points on the album are the opener "In the Hate of Battle", the song "A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors", a great vocal-less cover of Mutiilation's "Black Imperial Blood", and the masterpiece "A Walk Beyond Utter Blackness". Definitely recommended for those who like doomy and depressive black metal.

2003 lord vic