12 O'Clock Track: Xasthur, "The Prison of Mirrors" | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: Xasthur, "The Prison of Mirrors"

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Xasthurs Subliminal Genocide.
  • Xasthur's Subliminal Genocide
I'm anxiously awaiting the third and final installment of this month's One Man Metal documentary—the first two have already been posted by Noisey, a video-based music division of Vice. The series profiles three of the most punishing one-man black-metal projects: Leviathan, Striborg, and Xasthur. While watching it, I found myself most fascinated with Scott Conner, aka Malefic, the man behind Xasthur. This documentary is the first time he's showed his face on film (in promo photos and for live appearances he wears full corpsepaint), and he welcomed the cameraman into the tiny space where he works. It's surprising to see that his gigantic, cavernous-sounding recordings are created with little more than a tape machine in a bedroom. Today's 12 O'Clock Track is "The Prison of Mirrors" from Xasthur's 2006 Hydra Head release Subliminal Genocide, which shows off Malefic at his best and most brutal.

The most obvious point of comparison for Xasthur would be Burzum, who pioneered one-man black metal, but Malefic's songs are far more grandiose and epic. He tops their shrill guitars, onslaughts of double kick drum, and demonic vocals with layers of organ and synth and what at times sounds like a choir. His aesthetic walks the line between truly evil and brilliantly beautiful, which is pretty common in contemporary black metal (consider Liturgy or Wolves in the Throne Room).

Malefic ended Xasthur in 2010, and on 10/31 he'll release the first record from his new project, Nocturnal Poisoning. No previews are available yet, but he says on his Facebook page that it isn't a black-metal record—it was made with all acoustic instruments.

Here are the two available parts of One Man Metal:

So far the documentary is excellent. The only part of it that isn't totally great is when they show Jef Whitehead, aka Wrest of Leviathan, playing one of those dorky electronic drum sets. Part three will be out soon.

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