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Arkheth - 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew album review

Blackened madness from upside down under

There are few more entertaining phenomena than the ongoing psychedelic nightmare that plays out on black metal’s farthest fringes. These Australians are so deeply immersed in the genre’s lysergic bloodstream that 12 Winter Moons… feels like a psychedelic record that happens to embrace black metal, rather than the other way around. The retina-zapping insanity of the artwork supports that notion, too, but Arketh’s madness has plenty of method to back it up. In amongst the hissing walls of icy blasting, disembodied whispers and ghostly operatics, there’s a rich seam of authentically acid-fried invention being vigorously tapped. On the 11-minute Dark Energy Equilibrium, a bedrock of creepy post-punk mutates and meanders as syrupy saxophones call from the shadows before the whole disorientating squall blossoms into a magical, multifaceted necro-prog denouement. It’s deeply and purposefully trippy as fuck, of course, but the weird never drowns out the wonderful.