Ævangelist are not for the feint of confidence. For, to understand and appreciate all that is behind this masterpiece of tormented chaos, the listener must be confident of eventual appreciation. Enthrall to the Void of Bliss is hardly a “love at first sight” type of record. It’s more, amazement at first listen, emotional breakdown by third listen and, eventually, after about seven or more spins, complete and utter appreciation of the album’s dominance. To say this work is as large as the Grand Canyon would be an understatement. Ævangelist are clearly a proud, confident and driven band to release this nearly one hour long cloud of gaseous chaos.
A wiser person once said, “this shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.” Each track opens, follows and concludes in complete shock. A thoroughly jaw-dropping experience. As if inspired by Brian Wilson’s Beach Boys’ masterpiece Pet Sounds, the mix allows experimentation to leak through with extraneous sounds of spoken word and dogs barking. But it all works. “Alchemy” even utilizes an electronic drum beat and clean bass of near Portishead proportions. Yet, at no point does Enthrall to the Void of Bliss lack for consistency of flow. It is, remarkably so, an album of editorial perfection. A work that is so complete, no single second of the album can stand alone. It is all or nothing.
That they were previously on Debemur Morti Productions should clue the fact that this band is deranged. Now, backed by 20 Buck Spin, Ævangelist has not only come into their own but they have screamed past any and all bands experimenting with progressive notions of blackened death metal. Enthrall to the Void of Bliss shares much in common with Jef Whitehead’s Leviathan (particularly the 2015 release Scar Sighted). The production value is similar. But Ævangelist blows past Leviathan and leaves this entire universe of thinking in its wake. There is no formula yet all is exactly as it must be.
In comparison to their previous work Enthrall to the Void of Bliss adds cleaner production and more intricate mixes serving to enhance the bands exploratory vision. Whereas their previous work was thick and muddy, Ævangelist now employs production with more openness on the bottom end. This allows their sampling and other electronic effects to shine through, leaving the resulting work leaning towards impressive progression rather than descending into demented chaos. The drums in particular have gotten a revamp. With the bottom end of production free from obstruction, Matron Thorn now relies more on his double bass skills than his snare and cymbal work.
At times, Ævangelist can sound like the nature driven blasting that was so briefly brilliant about Wolves in the Throne Room. At times they reveal a connection to Canada’s Mitochondrian or Australia’s Impetuous Ritual. On “Emanation” they even employ Ruins of Beverast level sampling. Yet, at other points, there is a connection to blackened death with a touch of atmosphere such as Malthusian or Abyssal (particularly their more experimental 2015 release Antikatastaseis).
But, of course, and quite literally, the devil is in the details. Ævangelist are able to seamlessly blend these influences and sounds into one sprawling work of experimental insanity. It might require some serious attention and focus but the work will absolutely pay off as Enthrall to the Void of Bliss is a work that carries the flaming torch of progression through a sea of metal mundanity.