Black Mass Records
Official European distribution by Black Mass Records, The Lament Congregation and Northern Heritage.
Official American distribution by The Ajna Offensive.
Official Asian distribution by Weird Truth & Zero Dimensional.
When I receive an album for review, I often take the time to do a bit of research into a band’s inspirations, attitudes, and artistic intention. Rarely when contacted does a band offer me a reading list as long as the one I got from Spanish black metal act Emanation. Instead of pandering to typical “occult” leanings anybody could gain from a brief look at Crowley, LaVey, or even Lovecraft, Emanation’s inspiration from the spiritist thinkers stems from a well-researched hybrid of biology, theosophy, and philosophy. If you’ve ever wanted an album to examine the psychic realms, Emanation has created an interesting gem for you. Drawing on texts from brilliant minds such as Tesla, Kardec, Raudive, and many others, the amount of effort put into the lyrics and artistic aspirations alone make Emanation far more impressive than many of their similarly esoteric peers, but that’s just scratching the surface of this overwhelmingly dense MLP.
Following the lengthy debut demo, One Soul, One Body, One Spirit, the twenty minutes of Under Magnetic Sleep should seem brief in comparison, but this is definitely not the case. Instead, the throbbing, circular black emptiness these guys create is the equivalent of many hours of music crammed into one short and overwhelming headache of an album. This isn’t a bad thing, but it definitely begs for multiple listens, as there is simply far too much to process with a single listen. If you’re the type to casually peruse an album and form an opinion based on your preliminary visits, don’t bother. Emanation probably doesn’t want your half-assed support anyway.
I’m not going to pretend I’ve even digested everything going on, but fans of unpredictable and chaotic music should feel right at home here. Time signatures seem to only be a loose framework for the carnage of Emanation’s music, as the pace often shifts in segments rather than as an entirety. While this could cause some groups to sound disjointed or sloppy, the incremental adjustments to the music are done in a tasteful and pleasant fashion, at least for those who listen thoroughly. Tuning out while listening to this album is ill advised, as it’s very easy to get lost in the static and choppiness of the music if you’re inattentive. However, dedicated listeners will find this to be a most rewarding experience, as it slowly yields new pieces of itself with each listen. Of particular interest is closing track “Quintessential Ectenic Psychode,” which occupies nearly half of the album’s time with mesmerizing dissonance that builds into a blissful haze.
While I’m not sure if Emanation will be able to successfully win over the mainstream’s attention, folks looking for a truly challenging and ominous new listen will quickly become loyal to the cause. Also, if you’re like me and are a big reader, this will make a perfect accompaniment to the stack of books you’ll be checking out from your local library to pair with this eerie masterpiece. Copies are available stateside from Graceless and in Europe from Black Mass Records. Don’t miss this album. It’s likely that their next will garner attention from sites far larger than my own and you’ll wish you had taken my advice the first time around.
Ben / Black Metal and Brews
released October 30, 2013
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