I see textures, but not objects. I hear machines and voices, but I don’t know their intentions. The pounding of metal surfaces. The wail of unoiled joints and seams. The groans of overlain incantations. TELE.S.THERION refers to itself as “acousmatic black metal” – hideous sound without visible source, like creatures concealed by woodland trees, or mechanical experiments throttling the walls of eternally locked rooms. One function of the acousmatic experience is to remove the preconceptions that are built by any visual element, allowing an appreciation of sound that remains unblemished by context and expectation. With TELE.S.THERION, this function is explored for its ominous potential. What if the atonal, serrated aesthetic of black metal is taken further: beyond a rejection of harmonic alignment to a rejection of material limits, pooling in the imagination without the tempering awareness that guitars and drums are at the source of it all?
Even when I hear instruments I recognise – for example, the drums and bass guitar bursting into the introduction of the album’s second track – their movements feel…off, somewhat. The drums come crashing in at the wrong moments, with cymbal wash waning into the darkness of drama unfulfilled. The bass rattles tunelessly, the string loose and wobbling, too low to register at an audible pitch. Woodwind babbles and whimpers across the margins between discernible pitches. Meanwhile, the voices whirl uncontrollably: some in mimicry of that classic black metal rasp, others veering between ritual chant and delirious self-talk, all pressing beyond the limits of familiar, civil human form. Have these players forgotten how to perform? When coupled with the immense reverb that saturates everything here, I imagine Luzifers Abschied to document a band trapped in a gigantic cave. Shut away from human interaction, from culture, from the nourishment of the light. Musically, they cannibalise themselves; devoid of inspiration from the outside, they have no choice but to degenerate, to subject themselves to ridicule and contempt, to demolish everything they have.