Sunday, October 14, 2012
Music Review: Kuxan Suum's self-titled LP.
Today I'm examining a new release from Fallen Empire Records, a vinyl reissue of two tracks from Black Twilight Circle artist, Kuxan Suum.As with many groups in the Black Twilight Circle, Kuxan Suum are quick to differentiate themselves from the standard pack of modern black metal artists. This whole album feels like a journey through both the vastness of space and the infinity within oneself. While the two tracks were recorded a year and a half apart (and with an additional musician on the b-side track), this is the product of a highly talented and unique black metal group whom I hope to hear from again in the future.
Side A contains the track that introduced me to Kuxan Suum, the mighty "Kinich Ahau." Clocking in at seventeen minutes, this song is every bit the journey it should be. For a song bearing the Yucatec name of the Mayan sun god, this song is quite appropriately composed. It captures both the immensity of such a deity as well as the reverent beauty of a worshiper. While I've heard it through my tinny computer speakers many times before, this is my first listen on a decent system and the difference is astonishing. The swelling beauty of the first few minutes of this track is so wonderfully presented on vinyl and the tense anticipation is so much more present in this format. While I always share youtube links to the albums posted here (if possible), this record makes a strong case for purchasing physical copies of an album. The crispness and intensity I'm experiencing listening to this makes it feel like I've never heard this song before. When the vocals kick in, it's a howling and overwhelming experience of chaos and beauty. The lyrics are sung in Spanish and from what I can decipher, they're quite beautiful and inspired. (I speak Spanish, I just happen to have a hard time reading the handwritten lyrics in the sleeve for this song).
Side B presents another aural adventure for the listener with the song "Principle of Harmonic Resonance," originally released on the stellar Odour of Dust & Rot compilation from Rhinocervs. At a mere eleven minutes long, this tune is "short" by the standards Kuxan Suum have set forth with the opener. With time a little tighter here, the band jump right into a primal aggression on this excellent track. The addition of a bassist is quite apparent as well, despite the presence of some bass guitar on the other tune. With lyrics in English for this track, the deeply spiritual and transcendent nature of this band's message is more apparent to the lazy listener (and possibly lazy author). While I own the cassette this originally appeared on, it feels beefier and more fierce here, although that may also be because I'm enjoying it at maximum volume currently. Another pleasant change on this tune is the addition of keys. If that phrase makes you anxious, it shouldn't. There are no hints of symphonic cheesiness, just a beautiful addition that helps complete a fantastic piece of music. As the song ends, it's hard not to feel like you've witnessed something greater than you realized.
While many may find it strange to purchase a record with only two tracks, each of these is lengthy enough to justify a purchase. Adding in the high quality of the packaging and stellar sound, it's hard to state just how wonderful this is to finally own. Grab yourself a copy from Fallen Empire before they're out and mourn the recent closing of Crepusculo Negro in an honorable fashion. I acquired this along with a few other new Fallen Empire releases, so expect a week or two with a lot of content surrounding this worthy label.