Many of you might be familair with Jef Whitehead, most notably known for his work in Leviathan. While I’ve always enjoyed Leviathan to a certain extent, upon hearing this previously out-of-print release for the first time in my life; I can honestly say that I prefer Lurker Of Chalice much better. Why? Because like it or not, Leviathan had boundaries. Sure, the band would skate across them from time to time, but it still sounded like USBM. There was no getting around that. This is fine for black metal heads all of over the world, but I guess now that I’m getting up there a little in years, I don’t mind hearing different approaches on one album. That isn’t to say that the disc doesn’t begin with a dissonant yet slightly sludgy black affair in opener “Piercing Where They Might” but I might as well sprinkle the water in your eyes right now, because this feeling doesn’t last. By the time you know it, we’ve reached neofolk and even ambient doom territory, equaling out to an experience that simply becomes out of this world. Seriously, if you missed out on this one back in ’05, now is the perfect chance to pick it up because you need songs like “Minions” in your life. You may not realize that yet, but you do. When I hear a project as experimental and unique as this one, I find myself almost astonished that it never became as popular as it should have been. What’s more, is that according to an ’04 interview, Whitehead has another four of these sitting around in a closet somewhere. Yes, according to the some information gleamed from Metal Archives, there are four more records of this amazing ambient black/death neofolk stuff collecting dust with nary an ear to hear it. Well, if this reissue means that he might just blow the dust off those old discs and send them off to be mass produced and simultaneously gobbled up by the masses, then I’m all for it.
Lurker Of Chalice isn’t the kind of album that you jam out to while sporting a big frown and corpse paint. It’s actually something of a psychotic journey through the mind of one man, a fellow that I think some journalists tried to paint in a very negative manner over the last few years; but is still worth checking out for all of the compositions he’s given us in acts like this, Leviathan and Twilight (which will be forever overshadowed due to sparkly vampires, unfortunately). For those of you looking for a sense of discomfort far beyond the realms of ordinary black metal, I wholeheartedly recommend this masterwork. After all, Whitehead is creating black metal trends here that haven’t even been discovered yet – which might be a good thing in retrospect. We certainly don’t need a million ambient black metal acts out there to replace the growing wean of post-black and dissonance trends that are already putting a stranglehold on the genre.