Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Thy Darkened Shade - Liber Lucifer I: Khem Sedjet (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: October 31, 2014
Label: W.T.C. Productions

Liber Lucifer I: Khem Sedjet – track listing

1. Holy Lvcifer
2. Revival through Arcane Skins
3. Elixer of Azazel
4. Black Light of Sitra Ahra
5. Or She-ein bo Mahshavah
6. Nox Profunda
7. Drayishn-i Ahriman o Divan
8. Saatet-ta Renaissance
9. Liber Lvcifer
10. Deus Obsconditus
11. Δαήμων Ὁ Φώσφορος (Daemon Phosphorus)


The entity known as Thy Darkened Shade was formed nameless in 1999 by Semjaza. The music composed was Black Metal with Old School and Epic influences. In order for Thy Darkened Shade to achieve the best representation of what this band's music signifies, nothing was unleashed.

Over the years and after various experimentations, the sound of Thy Darkened Shade changed significantly resulting in ETERNVS MOS, NEX RITVS. Expect a mix of raw yet technical Black Metal with old school, avant-garde and 80s' Thrash influences.


The A – Vocals
Semjaza – Guitars & Bass
H.G. – Drums

Magus Wampyr Daoloth of Necromantia – Guest Vocals on Daemon Phosphorus


For those raised in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s there were two types of Satanism: the non-existent bogeymen abducting, molesting, and sacrificing children in the minds of religious zealots and regression hypnosis charlatans nationwide; or the very real, fairly boring pseudo-objectivist secular humanists/atheists of Anton Lavey’s Church of Satan. By the late 90s, the real possibility of baby-murdering Satanism was revealed as a kind of national hysteria and Lavey garnered a fair degree of hipster cool by hanging out with Marilyn Manson.

For all but the most backwards of us, Laveyan Satanists are a joke – meme ready neck-beards wearing fedoras and tweeting Penn Jillette quotes into the ether. Moreover, when it comes to Lucifer himself, they tend to be party poopers, ready to spout endless trivia about the power of the individual, the adversary, the outsider against repressive institutions like churches and governments. Mention theistic Satanists, and they’re likely to blow a gasket. According to Church of Satan “High Priest” Peter Gilmore, “My real feeling is that anybody who believes in supernatural entities on some level is insane. Whether they believe in The Devil or God, they are abdicating reason.” Snooze.

I can’t pretend that I know much more about theistic or atheistic Satanism, but simply judging by musical talent and output, I’ll take Behemoth, Watain, and seriously talented Greek disciples Thy Darkened Shade over a Sam Harris- or Richard Dawkins-inspired album any day. Thanks be to Azazel that Thy Darkened Shade have helped in some way to rescue Lucifer from the tired bin of 90s rock metaphor and have structured the first (of several?) prog meets blackened death metal masterpieces centered on the Morningstar and his demonic brethren, or as they describe it Acausal Necrosophic Black Metal.

Instrumentalist Semjaza and vocalist The A (joined on this release by drummer H.G.) craft Miltonian hellscapes on their sophomore album, complete with unholy chanting, blast beats galore, what feels like an orchestra of both electric and folk instruments, stretching across 77 minutes of relentless metal. Remarkably, it never feels tired, even with four (!) 10 minute mini-epics filling out over half of the album’s runtime. Rather, it seems like Thy Darkened Shade, like so many remarkable metal bands, continue to balance a truly fringe ethos with diverse musical traditions. There is a section of title track Liber Lvcifer (about the last 2 minutes) that really defies mere critical language. After the structured chaos of the preceding 8 minutes, the bursts of cacophony and breakneck shredding, the ethereal chanting, guitar harmonies, and martial drumming transcends the simply horrific to become sublime.

When John Milton wrote Paradise Lost, he made a charismatic Lucifer whose tragedy would allow mankind some access to the infinite mystery of being, but was ultimately bound to the conventions of Christianity. With Liber Lvcifer I, Thy Darkened Shade evokes the same kind of transcendence, unbound by the strictures of religion or dogmatic rationality. At its core, it stands out as a paradox: a divinely unholy work of irreligious devotion.

Words by Mark Ambrose

Thanks to Nathan for the promo. Liber Lucifer I: Khem Sedjet will be available to buy from W.T.C. Productions from October 31st.

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