Xasthur - Dark Trance-Suicidal Black Metal
Formed sometime at the end of the last century (around 1995), Xasthur was simply the home recordings of one Malefic, which is how in fact it has stayed to this very day. His first "official" release was titled A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors, and was simply a professional CD-R release, before eventually being given an official release. When he finally released an official label released album it was on the label of Lord Imperial of Krieg, the label is called Blood Fire Death and is an imprint of Red Steam. That first release was titled Nocturnal Poisoning. It has ended up being hailed as the so-far best album of Xasthur by many. The music is based primarily on French black metal bands like Mutiilation and Blut Aus Nord, as such it is hypnotic and features many uses of cold almost classically influenced riffs. However, Xasthur created a original sound which he has stuck to since. His guitar is unEarthly, seeming to hover menacingly above us, submerging us into its' hateful embrace, very often the pace is slow, but not as much on here as on later discs. In all essence it was a great black metal album. His next release was an EP made up of 5 songs titled Suicide in Dark Serenity.
Following this, in 2003 The Funeral of Being again on Lord Imperial's Blood Fire Death label. Most consider this inferior to the previous release. I'm inclined to agree, mainly because this, unlike any other Xasthur release, feels like something cobled together from a bunch of tracks after several years of recording. It also featuresmuch less of Maleifics signiture ghost wail vocals, in favour of more instrumental moments. Not always a bad choice, but more vocals are usually rather nice. For all that, all the tracks are very good, but badly put together, making an awkward album of some of his best tracks.
Malefic followed this up with a number of splits before in 2004 releasing his new album Telepathic with the Deceased, which personally is my favorite Xasthur album, some agree, particularly those who have not yet heard Nocturnal Poisoning. This album marked a changed for Xasthur, now instead of Blood Fire Death he is on the much bigger label Moribund Cult. Also due to the change, he now had someone who made sure the production was top notch (at least for a home recorded black metal band). There is also a change for the music. The European Classical riffs are much more prevalent, as is the almost psychedelic drone of the distortion on the guitars. The keyboards are built in the songs with more skill, and there are more vocals. Essentially, this makes up a very good album. Again in 2004, just a little later, and on a different label (before also being released on Moribund Cult) came To Violate the Oblivious, which seems to be what Malefic has been shooting for since the beginning when it comes to production. This didn't tend to be taken as well as either Nocturnal Poisoning or Telepathic With The Deceased. It was in fact two seperate EP's that instead of being released as EPs, were put onto here to create a full-length album, so again the problem of being patched together rears its ugly head, but as I have not heard enough of this album yet to judge it I digress.
Since then Xasthur has released a couple of splits, but other than that is now laying low after two years of sustained activity.
Full length Albums
A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors (2001)
Nocturnal Poisoning (2002)
The Funeral of Being (2003)
Telepathic With the Deceased (2004)
To Violate the Oblivious (2004)
Xasthur/Orosius split (1999)
Xasthur/Acid Enema split (2002)
Suicide in Dark Serenity EP (2003)
Nachtmystium/Xasthur split (2004)
Xasthur/Angra Mainyu split (2004)
Xasthur/Leviathan split (2004)
Nortt/Xasthur split (2005)