Banished From Time
Raw black metal is, by its very nature, not designed to be a particularly pleasing thing to listen to. The race to find the worst production value and the most abrasive sound is not one with any real winners. The style often emphasizes the atmosphere and emotion over technical or songwriting skills, and the ritualistic nature of the genre often comes to the forefront. Prolific Portuguese one-man mystery band Black Cilice has been a machine, and while progression isn’t always the name of the game in this style, it’s clear that whoever is behind Black Cilice has been slightly tinkering with his sound over the course of the past eight years.
It should clearly be noted that Black Cilice isn’t exactly like other black metal bands. Banished From Time is certainly abrasive and purposely poorly recorded, but this is more art than ritual. These five tracks are brimming with caustic, abrasive, and unrelenting noise of the harshest order. The noise level and constant anguished shrieks (actual words are tough to come by) bombard the listener in a hair-raising manner; it’s not quite dissonant, but it’s certainly eerie. Yet, one can clearly make out quite a few riffs and melodies, and once the piercing mayhem settles into a groove partway through the excellent opener, “Timeless Spectre”, you realize how pleasant and haunting Banished From Time actually is. Much in the way the most abrasive dissonant death or black metal can become beautiful over time, Black Cilice’s artistic goals are laid clear.
This is noisy, blackened art. Sure, not every track carries the same effect, but the recording quality and lack of diversity makes for an impressive listen. Aside from obvious issues stemming from such an unrelentingly aggressive set of songs, Black Cilice’s fourth record is very well done and easy to appreciate on an artistic level.