I *think* this was the first “freebie” I got tossed as writer. I’ve been a big fan of Transcending Obscurity as a metal label and tend to give their stuff a chance when it passes through the Nine Circles inbox. Arkheth is a one-man black metal project (after my own heart) out of Australia, and 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew reaches levels of carnivalesque mayhem that have me admiring its audacity, even when it’s not something I can just randomly grab and listen to. Anyway, they sent me the CD as thanks for a good review…completely unexpected but appreciated nevertheless.
I still feel the same way, so in the interest of time I’m going to excerpt what I wrote from my original article for Nine Circles here. Enjoy!
Anyone can throw a thousand disparate ideas into a song, but it takes more to congeal those ideas into something that works towards the whole. Arcturus is one example of a band that could make this work, and it seems like Ihsahn can seemingly do this in his sleep and make it not only work, but make it excellent (we’ll find out again when new album Ámr drops in May). Well add to that list Australian black metal entity Arkheth, whose first album in eight years 12 Winter Moons Comes the Witches Brew takes a huge left turn from the straight ahead symphonic black metal of the past and into uncharted water.
While largely a one-man project, Tyrone “Tyraenos” Kostitch employs for the new tracks saxophonist Glen Wholohan, who brings a multitude of facets to the music. This is much more than “black metal with a sax solo” music; there’s an anarchic quality as songs like “Trismegistus” and “Dark Energy Equilibrium” move from nasty to mournful to playful. The cover artwork by T Bare McClough is pretty indicative of the often chaotic nature of the music, but all of this is tied together in a consistently exciting and dark package. After weeks of absorbing the record there are still surprises to be found, whether it’s the vocal call and response in the off-kilter “Where Nameless Ghouls Weep” or the soulful sax solo buried in the fuzzed out outro of “The Fool Who Persists in His Folly.” This is a rich offering for black metal and something to be teased apart with multiple listenings. Don’t let it pass you by.