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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Xasthur-Portal Of Sorrow(2010)


By now most people know that this will be the last Xasthur record ever. A lot of people may find this a blessing, but I bet they wouldn't uphold that opinion after hearing Portal Of Sorrow. This is by far the best and most atmospheric music that Scott Connor has ever captured on tape. Which to me, makes his departure from the Black Metal scene all the more saddening. But you know what they say, it's better to go out with a bang than a dying whimper.

Much has been made of the fact that Scott used indie rock chanteuse Marissa Nadler on this record. I bet any of the people complaining about that fact, never once stopped to pick up one of Miss Nadler's Cd's to investigate? If they had, they would have known that she is a perfect fit in this project. She adds a David Lynch/Twin Peaks vibe to the already dreamlike atmosphere. This record is very far from a straightforward Black Metal record, although it does have some of those elements. This is one of the most varied things that I have heard since Dodheimsgard's 666 International, or Ulver's sprawling William Blake record. Don't mistake that for meaning that Xasthur have techno elements now, I was referring only to varied nature of the record. People who have hated the later works are encouraged to pick this record up, you just might change your mind. The vocals are more or less buried in the mix, as always, except for Marissa Nadler's which scream through the haze, like a seraphim from hell. Scott's vocals, when present are more in the vein of the early, mournful style, which is a very welcome return. It's a great record, and it's sad that it will be the last, I wish that Scott would just continue in this magnificent new direction, and don't worry about scene politics. He assures us, he will continue to make music, just not Metal music.

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