Album Title: 
That Which Whets The Saccharine Palate
Release Date: 
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Review Type: 

[despite being released almost three years ago, yet because of its ingenious character…]

The term ‘yaldabaoth’ refers to a false deity, or a demiurge, imagined as a serpent-shaped entity with a lion’s head, who captures spirits within physical bodies. It’s a gnostic terminology that focuses on man’s faith and salvation, searching for the balance in between knowledge and self-betrayal. I can go on about this matter, but I’d like to focus on a release by a project with the very same moniker and their album That Which Whets The Saccharine Palate.

‘yaldabaoth’ is, as you could understand, also the name of a sonic project, hailing from the sunny beaches of Alaska, and which I did know from their split-EP with Skopt (2017). With pleasure I noticed that this project did record a full-length too in the mean-time. The release of That Which Whets The Saccharine Palate is a mutual effort in between Lycaean Triune (based in Anchorage and promoting / supporting the local scene out there) and Aesthetic Death. The physical release exists on both tape and compact-disc; the latter being a digipack edition which includes a six-panel poster-formatted booklet with cool, disturbing, somehow apocalyptic black-and-white artwork (courtesy of Business For Satan aka Pierre Perichaud).

This album ‘is a study of disgust, contempt, and mockery for all religion’s existential justifications [] seeping forth from the cracks of man’s doubt’. It’s a manifest against narrow-minded ignorance, fuelled by sarcasm and cynicism, veiled in a sadistic arrogance, translated through blackened satire and derision. This album is an enduring travel through the Inner Eye filled with irony, self-mockery and scorn.

The six titles last for three quarters of an hour and do bring harshness, begging for endurance and bravery. Why? Because the aural content is as monumental as it is harsh. And even an experienced noise-sweetie like me permanently baths in sweat and blood while listening to this album, time after time.

In a very general sense, one can consider this album like some amalgam of Death, Black and Progressive Metal. But that would be too easy as definition, for Yaldabaoth create sort of an own style while implementing elements from progressive and extreme sources. For the better part, these six elegies are constructed out of powerful riffs, explosive rhythms and quite some chaos and discordance. Yet be sure about this: that chaotic and dissonant approach is nicely structured and well-balanced. Okay, it needs a handful of listens before seeing the whole picture, but it’s worth it, of course.

Most parts are of the intense, eruptional kind. It means: expeditious, vigorous, grinding, as well as diligent and sedulous. It’s not a cheap blend of sonic extremities all mish-mashed together, despite the vehemence, yet a well-thought organism of ingeniously-crafted processes and techniques. And like each organism, all individual elements have to work together to give that organism health and a good shape. Well, that’s exactly the case in here. All cells work delicately (despite the nasty result) together to give that entity its vivid substance; all ‘ingredients’ are mingled tentatively together to make it a tasteful presentation. That goes for both sound-quality and execution.

That sound-quality is very satisfying and persuading. The equilibrium in between all voices and instruments is of a professional level, with gratitude to the Paris-based BST Studio. Okay, the guy behind it, Sébastien Tuvi, is already known for his professional studio assistance for bands like Aosoth (he used to be part of this band), Hell Militia, The Order Of Apollyon (also a former band he was involved with), Ignis Haereticum or Somniate, amongst many others, which explains that fine production. On top of it, the whole does not sound exaggerated clean, as in ‘surgically pure’, but it has a hint of unpolished rawness at the background too, fortifying the energetical exertion.

Another magnificent aspect is the interaction, as mentioned, in between all vocal and instrumental contributions. The main vocals are of the blackish-screaming kind, being raspy, venomous, somewhat sore. Besides, there are several deep-growling, guttural grunts too, and they fit to the whole, in combination with the blackened chords. From instrumental side, the ‘melodic’ structures are build around a guitar-driven basement especially. However, the multiple string-layers are like a symbiosis of hypnotic and intoxicating melodic nature at the one hand, inventively interrelating with a semi-cacophonous overload on inconsonant breaks and conflicting twists. This gets smoothly sustained by a gargantuan, or better: stupendous, rhythm section. The bass and rhythm guitars create that dark, oppressive atmosphere, while pushing the lead section forward, upward. The drums, then again, play they role with elegance: blasting like an avalanche within the eruptive parts, with eccentric, even provocative and arrogant (yeah) double bass-drums and purest cymbal-molestation; then again, when the speed slows down, that percussional assistance brings a mood of defiance and militant discompromise (I know this word does not exist [yet], but it says it all).

One last thing, about the tempo. As mentioned, the better part balances in between up-tempo to lightning-fast. Yet even within these spheres of aggression and intensity, one finds a remarkable variation. Some excerpts, then again, are slower, mid-tempo or even balancing towards Doom-laden finesse. These slower fragments surely do not decrease in heaviness (at all) and do add this project’s majestic vision on the rather ritualistic and philosophical concepts. An example is To Neither Rot Nor Decay, which includes an occult intro with haunting synths too, as well as purest bewitching leads and a mostly dense, claustrophobic atmosphere.

Recommended! I repeat: recommended!