Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crepuscule Review

Chthe’ilist (pronounced “Dok’ken?”) made some serious waves with their 2010 demo, Amechth’ntaas’m’rriachth (pronounced “Tooth’n’nail?”), and deservedly so, because not only was that recording a grimly satisfying 20 minute peek into some seriously freaky-deaky, deathly Lovecraft Metal, that shit was FREE. Well, the digital version was free, at least. Fret not thyself if you weren’t wise to its existence up until now, though, because 1) that shit is still free, and 2) it’s all getting rebooted on the band’s proper debut full-length, the exceedingly easier to pronounce Le Dernier Crépuscule.

I know, I know. It’s easy to twist one’s pantaloons into a knot over new releases that rehash previously released demo material, but sometimes life is just a swirling vortex of bitter pills for those who spend too much time drilling into the underground. Look at it this way, only 200 original cassette copies of Amgosfigu’s’sldk’fjsdkfj ever hit daylight, so this is a prime opportunity for the remainder of the 7,392,561,568 people on this planet to snag that early material in a corporeal, sniffable, wearable form that’s (admittedly) a little smoother and less raw around the edges. Plus, the additional 32 minutes offered up is most certainly worth the price of admission.

Two supporting selling points with regard to Chthe’ilist’s overall method: First, they’re part of a current breed of death metal that understands how to balance a compelling blend of the dark, deadly & murky end of the spectrum with just the right amount of technicality to keep the band disconnected from the trove of other cellar-dwellars that mostly seem to cull musical influence from a humdrumming generator buried in some forgotten sewer. As such, there’s plenty to grab hold of to help keep things interesting. The mood is altogether decrepitatingly dark, but frequent tempo shifts, swirling atmospheric synths, stacks of melodic leads (OH GOD THOSE LEADS) and some of the most guttural, alien-sounding upchucking I’ve heard since the Xenomorph flu outbreak of ‘86 make Le Dernier Crépuscule the sort of record you’ll love reaching for when outsiders ask “what the hell is it about death metal that appeals to you, anyway?”

An amalgum of elder Finnish death metal such as Demilich, Rippikoulu and Adramelech serve as the clearest forebearers to the overall Chthe’ilist sound, but these Québécois ain’t at all afraid of letting things get loose and weird, so throw a little Carbonized and Not to Be Undimensional Conscious-era Disharmonic Orchestra into the mix as well. The demo teased at wEiRdnESs in the way a tune like “Vecoiitn’aphnaat’smaala” jumped around with a righteous groove, but “The Voices from Beneath the Well” from this adventure outright slaps the listener in the face with the funkiest run you’ll hear on a death metal record that doesn’t include Bootsy Collins and Erik Rutan. It probably shouldn’t work, but by the most hallowed of holy shits, it just does.

Second prime Chthe’ilist selling point: While the Lovecraft inspiration is certainly far from unique in metal, it’s still worthy of gorging on because it scratches that nerdy science fiction itch so many of us love having scratched. And if you think you’ve survived all these years as a death metal lord without at least a wink toward some degree of nerdliness… The power of Seagrave compels you! The power of Seagrave compels you!

Chthe’ilist vocalist, guitarist, bassist and synthist Pat Tougas has forged a fresh world (Eil’udom) inspired by H.P., and just how far he plans on weaving these realms and its principle inhabitants – the Typhodians – remains to be seen. I can tell you that the shifting moods throughout Le Dernier Crépuscule paint a fertile, horrific and compelling landscape, and Pat’s crackpot vocals serve to push the narrative off the charts. His principle approach is rooted in the sort of unfathomably deep grumbling shared by dudes like Mors Dalos Ra (Necros Christos) and Götz Vogelsang (Deathevokation), but plenty of additional glottal razzle-dazzle helps to further populate Eil’udom’s insanity; alien gnarls, gurglings, coughs, chants, eerie Yautja clicking and long, growling belches that sound like a lion that’s just guzzled two liters of wildebeest blood – all par for the course.

Really, the only thing that makes me sad about Chthe’ilist is the fact that I have zero chance of nailing and remembering how the band’s name is pronounced, even if Mr. Tougas were to call me up and explain it to me ten times over the phone. I suppose I’m dense like that.

“It’s Chthe’ilist.”

Cat lisp?

“No, Chthe’ilist.”

Cuddle fist?

“CHTHE’ILIST!”

Jelly mist?

“YES, WE’RE CALLED JELLY MIST” *CLICK*

Posted by Captain

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; Handsome & Interesting Man; Just get evil all the time.

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