A slew of splits and demos as well as three full lengths may have preceded the new album Banished From Time by black metal project Black Cilice but unfortunately they’re an artist that has not managed to appear on my radar before this, and it’s the first album I’ve heard by them. Black metal with a noisy, raw and uncompromising production but with great song writing including room for melody and deranged vocal performances make this a harsh but rewarding listen, certainly not recommended for the faint of heart or those who prefer their black metal with a modern post-rock/shoegaze influence for sure.
Black Cilice hit you with an earache inducing wall of sound from the moment Timeless Spectre kicks the album off. Fast and blunt blastbeats and gravelly rumbling bass provide the lower end for several layers of distorted guitar, with tremolo picking razor sharp lower pitched riffs, and esoteric melodies at the high end of the fretboard all with a raw production that’s one of purpose than necessity – coming together in something of a tinnitus inducing mess. It’s not the rawest production in the world and above the hundreds of bedroom bands out there on soundcloud but it’s uncompromising and brutally harsh, a throbbing migrainey sound juxtaposing the tone with the rather beautiful almost classical sounding melodies in the higher end. The distorted groans, screams, shrieks and howls are drawn out and pained, loud in the mix and scathing to the ears. There’s some slower chuggier moments throughout and those where the melodic guitars are allowed to take center stage as the rest of the instruments slow down slightly or drop out, but most of the album is a huge wall of brilliantly constructed but aurally devastating black metal brilliance. Sometimes at points the production sounds a little too thin, especially if you’re listening to it through speakers rather than headphones on the occasional parts when they ramp down a little on the intensity, which is a shame, but it’s when all these layers combine that Banished From Time hits its stride.
The songs are varied, with On the Verge of Madness having some atmospheric repeated riffs a bit like a more deranged Burzum, Channeling Forgotten Energies has something of a faster and more epic sound from the major sounding riffs and Boiling Corpses suffers a little from the weaker production in some of the parts mentioned earlier when some layers drop out a bit and it slows down, but still sounds oppressive with the relentless throbbing bass. Really though it’s similar in tone throughout due to an oppressive unrelenting production and demonic howling vocals that are as chilling from first to last track, and it really should be listened to as a whole album – if you can take it as such that is.
Raw and brutalistic in its production, well constructed, varied, and sometimes even beautiful in its music, Banished From Time is more than another raw and underproduced black metal album, and without being free of flaws Black Cilice have made a piece of enigmatic blackened art.