Album Review – Cthonica / Typhomanteia: Sacred Triarchy of Spiritual Putrefaction (2019)

Witness the spiritual putrefaction of men in the form of raw extreme music, crafted by a cryptic Venezuelan duo that refuses to compromise or embrace standardized creation processes.

On their horrific debut opus entitled Typhomanteia: Sacred Triarchy of Spiritual Putrefaction, Venezuelan Black/Death Metal abominable duo Cthonica unravels almost an hour of blood-curling and slithering ritualistic aural terror the hideousness and repulsiveness of which has rarely been seen on this earth, being highly recommended for admirers of the extreme noise blasted by bands such as Immolation, Incantation, Beherit, Blasphemy and Portal. Adding hazy layers of purulent noise and sepulchral dark ambient murk to further disfigure their abhorrent creation, Cthonica have crossed a new threshold in Extreme Metal, setting an entirely new standard of sonic inversion with their raw and decaying sound, and taking the glorification and worship of death and perversion to an entire new realm of conceptual and audial atrocity.

Formed in the Venezuelan capital city of Caracas in 2016 by D.V. on guitars, bass and drums, and H.K. on vocals, noise, electronics, lyrics and concept, rising from the ashes of a previous incarnation of the project called Okkvlt, Cthonica are a proudly home-recorded project, both for necessity due to the precarious access to resources in the tumultuous Venezuelan society and general lack of most things out there, and for the complete refusal by the core duo behind the project to compromise or embrace standardized and commonly acceptable creation processes. Mixed and mastered at Necrosound Studio, and featuring an artwork of surreal visual horror by Venezuelan artist Bryan Maita (BMS Illustration), Typhomanteia: Sacred Triarchy of Spiritual Putrefaction deals with the Tehomic-Typhonian metamorphosis of every man’s reason through what they call “spiritual putrefaction”, or the progressive human corruption through the guidelines of opprobrious disciplines and their teachings, and even if you have no idea of what this means at all simply (try to) relax and enjoy over 50 minutes of first-class, utterly raw extreme music made in Venezuela.

Typhomanteia: Sacred Triarchy of Spiritual Putrefaction, which seems to be purposely split into two distinct parts, kicks off with the first act of the first part, Act I: The Chalice, sounding dissonant, disruptive and absolutely raw from the very first second. H.K. begins growling deeply and rabidly in great Death Metal fashion while D.V. does an amazing job with both his flammable riffs and demonic blast beats, generating a Stygian ambience that will crawl deep inside your skin like a putrid maggot, resulting in a very atmospheric experiment with phantasmagorical passages and creepy intermissions to make things even more mesmerizing. Act II: The Lantern begins in full force, with the duo smashing our souls with their crude Experimental Black Metal, and you can easily sense the dirtiness flowing from D.V.’s devilish riffage throughout the entire song. Furthermore, H.K. continues to fire gargantuan harsh gnarls like a beast in this brutal and disturbing ode to the void, followed by Act III: The Verb, just as gruesome and infernal as its predecessors, with D.V. unleashing pure obscurity from his Doom Metal beats. Put differently, it can’t get any more experimental than this, and it’s quite impressive how they captivate our senses no matter how lengthy and intricate their wicked creations might be. In addition, H.K. not only is a talented growler, but his background noises and tones also add an extra touch of lunacy to the music.

Featuring guest vocalist İanzél (Ancient Blood, Desesperanza, Precaria), IV:I: Nor The Deadliest Disease Shall Be Compared With His Gift of Salvation… (the first aria of the second part of the album) brings to your ears a humongous wall of blackened sounds that will crush you like an insect, with the guitars and bass by D.V. reaching a new level of malignancy and sulfur while H.K. darkly vociferates the song’s words from the very depths of the underworld. This is the perfect sample of what underground extreme music is all about, which can also be said about V:II: … for the Children of he Who Lurks Beyond Shall Not Witness This Showcase Of Glory…, showcasing a tribal and absolutely vile intro led by the scorching hot riffs by D.V. while H.K. fires his trademark enraged roars. Its strident riffs and solos, together with its crisp beats, generate a dense and furious sonority that flows smoothly until everything ends in the most aggressive and demented way possible. Then prepare your ears and minds for another onrush of obscurity and dementia in the form of raw Black Metal by the duo titled VI:III: … Not As Those Who Served and Preached in Obeisance., where visceral blast beats and riffs permeate the air, blackening your heart and thoughts while H.K.’s vocals get more and more deranged as the music progresses. And to properly conclude the album we have the cinematic outro VII: Ω De Derelictum Domum Sacrorum with its eerie noises, haunting screeches and demonic tones, putting a beyond devilish ending to such unique opus.

This precious and raw gem of underground extreme music made in South America can be appreciated in full on Spotify, but of course if I were you I would show my utmost support to H.K. and D.V. by purchasing Typhomanteia: Sacred Triarchy of Spiritual Putrefaction from one of the several locations where the album is on sale, such as the Sentient Ruin Laboratories’ BandCamp or webstore (if you fancy the vinyl format), the Cagliary Records’ BandCamp or webstore (for admirers of the cassette format), from the Clavis Secretorvm’s BandCamp or webstore in digipack format or as a black or white double LP, and Apple Music. The current state of Venezuela might be precarious and extremely delicate, but even facing all types of barriers and against all odds Cthonica managed to deliver an excellent debut album for our total delectation, proving once again that the underground is (and will always be) alive and kicking, and that the spiritual putrefaction of the human being can be useful at least as fuel when Black Metal is the music in question.

Best moments of the album: Act II: The Lantern and IV:I: Nor The Deadliest Disease Shall Be Compared With His Gift of Salvation….

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Clavis Secretorvm/Sentient Ruin/Caligari Records

Track listing
1.  Act I: The Chalice 11:19
2. Act II: The Lantern 7:49
3. Act III: The Verb 9:51
4. IV:I: Nor The Deadliest Disease Shall Be Compared With His Gift of Salvation… 6:34
5. V:II: … for the Children of he Who Lurks Beyond Shall Not Witness This Showcase Of Glory… 8:20
6. VI:III: … Not As Those Who Served and Preached in Obeisance. 5:30
7. VII: Ω De Derelictum Domum Sacrorum 2:57

Band members
H.K. – vocals, noise, electronics
D.V. – guitars, bass, drums

Guest musician
İanzél – additional vocals on “IV:I: Nor The Deadliest Disease Shall Be Compared With His Gift of Salvation…”

Album Review – Theurgia / Transformation (2017)

Descend into the crypts of Hades to the sound of the perturbing and dense Black Metal brought forth by this ruthless Venezuelan horde.

Forged in the scorching fires of Maracaibo, Venezuela in 2014 from the ashes of a band called Daemonhorn, but currently located in Colombia, old school Black Metal horde Theurgia are among us to blast pure hatred and violence with the release of their debut full-length album, titled Transformation. Recorded at Fenix Estudio in Barranquilla, Colombia, mixed and mastered at Dae Home Studio, and featuring an ominous album art created by John Quevedo Janssens (with the art in the digital edition being designed by the band’s own vocalist and guitarist Daemonae), Transformation brings all elements that make traditional Black Metal so compelling and menacing, helping the band carve their name in the history of underground South American extreme music.

The word “Theurgia” is the Lesser Key of Solomon (also known as Clavicula Salomonis Regis) called “Ars Theurgia Goetia”, the invocation of 31 demonic entities (those being emperors, dukes, kings and princes) with special characteristics. With such an imposing name, the music by Theurgia couldn’t sound more perturbing and dense than what they offer us in Transformation, with their lyrics talking about important topics such as general philosophy and war (in full gear). In the 40 minutes of visceral, disturbing music of the album, the band comprised of lead singer and guitarist Daemonae, guitarist Mortum P., bassist Teuterastus and drummer Hellbeats deliver an enraged message to the world, stating that darkness is upon us and there’s nothing we can do to avoid our grievous fate. In other words, if you’re searching for high-end raw old school extreme music or even the perfect soundtrack to the apocalypse, Transformation has exactly what you need to enfold your darkest and most villainous thoughts.

An intro directly from the pits of hell, titled The Torch ov Creation, announces devastation is about to break loose in ILV (The Verb of Waters), which begins in a doom-ish mode until Daemonae starts to fire his blackened growls while Hellbeats lives up to his own moniker on drums, with the music gradually evolving to raw and furious old school Black Metal. If that solid start is not heavy enough for you, the title-track Transformation presents the Venezuelan quartet on their most menacing beast mode, with Mortum P. delivering truly infernal riffs that effectively complement the demented drumming by Helbeats. Put differently, this full-bodied ode to darkness will offer your ears a chaotic havoc of Black Metal sounds led by the aggressive gnarls by Daemonae.

Transmutation (Of Synesthetic Formula) brings forward more of the band’s evil and obscure sounds, with Daemonae vociferating like a demonic entity while Teuterastus and Hellbeats threaten us all with their rumbling instruments, disturbing our senses until the songs climatic ending. Then we have My Oeneric Dreams, a short, ominous bridge to the visceral Procesio IV – Monotonous Chant, another song that begins in a Doom Metal fashion before exploding into a haunting feast of Black and Death Metal. This is a top-notch blackened aria where Hellbeats sets fire to the musicality with his drums, while Mortum P. distils his sulfuric riffs mercilessly. If you’re a fan of vile Blackened Death Metal, this song is simply tailored for your avid inner demon.

There’s no time to breathe with an onrush of crushing extreme music named Procesio V – Dolorvm, presenting an imposing sonority generated by the mesmerizing Black Metal riffs by Mortum P. and the unearthly bass by Teuterastus; followed by Procesio VI – Mea Spíritus in Opium (the creation of our souls before apparent orthodox existence), where the band gets to a truly demented level, delivering high dosages of putrid gnarls, devilish riffs and blast beats, resulting in a scathing descend into the crypts of Hades with Theurgia, therefore ending the album on a high note. And as a bonus track to the physical version of the album we have their cover version for Dissection’s Retribution – Storm of the Light’s Bane (check the original version HERE), taken from the tribute album “In Memory of Jon Nödtveidt – A Tribute to Dissection”, bringing all the fury of the original song by Dissection with Theurgia’s own perverse twist.

You can easily join the dark side of South American Extreme Metal by following Theurgia on Facebook and YouTube, and purchase your copy of Transformation, which you can listen in its entirety HERE, through the Throats Productions’ BandCamp, the Worship Tapes’ webstore, the Esfinge Records’ webstore or at Discogs. And after listening to Transformation, may your soul never be in peace again.

Best moments of the album: ILV (The Verb of Waters), Transformation and Procesio IV – Monotonous Chant.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Throats Productions/Worship Tapes

Track listing
1. The Torch ov Creation (Instrumental) 0:54
2. ILV (The Verb of Waters) 5:56
3. Transformation 7:27
4. Transmutation (Of Synesthetic Formula) 6:20
5. My Oeneric Dreams (Instrumental) 0:41
6. Procesio IV – Monotonous Chant 7:39
7. Procesio V – Dolorvm 5:25
8. Procesio VI – Mea Spíritus in Opium 5:49

Physical Edition bonus track
9. Retribution – Storm of the Light’s Bane (Dissection cover) 5:19

Band members
Daemonae – vocals, lead guitars
Mortum P. – rhythm guitars
Teuterastus – bass, backing vocals
Hellbeats – drums