Wednesday, 21 June 2017

REVIEW: Schammasch - “The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite” (EP)

By: Conor O’Dea

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 09/06/2017
Label: Prosthetic Records

Schammasch have created something remarkable with this most recent artistic expression, sophisticated, complex and yet somehow, eminently accessible.  Get lost. It is worth your time to find a way out.

“The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). “Prologue”
2). “The Weighty Burden Of An Eternal Secret”
3). “Along The Road That Leads To Bedlam”
4). “These Tresses Are Sacred”
5). “May His Illusion Last Until Dawn’s Awakening”
6). “Chimerical Hope”
7). “Do Not Open Your Eyes”

The Review:

"May it please heaven that the reader, emboldened and having for the time being become as fierce as what he is reading, should, without being led astray, find his rugged and treacherous way across the desolate swamps of these sombre and poison-filled pages; for, unless he brings to his reading a rigorous logic and a tautness of mind equal at least to his wariness, the deadly emanations of this book will dissolve his soul as water does sugar. It is not right that everyone should savour this bitter fruit with impunity. Consequently, shrinking soul, turn on your heels and go back before penetrating further into such uncharted, perilous wastelands." Comte de Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror”

There can be only deep silence after the invocation of the triune. It is time to pause. An initiate, waiting, in the shadows, barely breathes, as the adept brings one deeply important ritual to a close. You know where you were left, but are unclear where the way could possibly open again. Ab initio, ab vacuo, a ritual begins, revitalized, innovative, and redacted: but only in the paths it wanders, not in the powers it invokes. Thunder, perfect mind.

Schammasch have created something remarkable with this most recent artistic expression, something that draws deeply and effectively on both the painterly and writerly roots of its inspiration. It is sophisticated, complex and yet it, somehow, it is eminently accessible. It is a sort of roman-de-clef, but it does not seek to intimidate, browbeat or baffle the listener with fabricated dissonance or obfuscatory elitism. It invites the listener to enter its mysteries and get profoundly lost within them. Schammasch here effectively create auditory and lyrical topographies that bend the common conventions of compositional and narrative structure in surreal ways. I am using surreal here in the sense of Magritte and Dali, both of whom illustrated Lautreamont's “The Lay of Maldoror”; it is a bending of reality, a reconfiguration of the real through symbolic interpolation. The six songs following the prologue mirror the Canto division of Lautreamont's poetic novel, a glimpse into the fin-de-siecle madness that performed this superlative Dada-like twist on both the” Divine Comedy” and “Paradise Lost”.

“May His Illusion Last until Dawn's Awakening” and “Chimerical Hope” are perhaps the most immediately 'moving' of these tracks, but as with all things Schammasch, this album should be taken as a whole: in contemplation, in mindful inebriety. Get lost. It is worth your time to find a way out.

"I am the silence that is incomprehensible and the idea whose remembrance is frequent.
I am the voice whose sound is manifold and the word whose appearance is multiple.
I am the utterance of my name"
The Thunder, Perfect Mind

“The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite” is available here

FFO: Behemoth, Secrets of the Moon, Deathspell Omega, Triptykon

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