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Taranis – Postmortem Spheres

taranis – postmortem spheres


Admittedly, I didn’t foresee this second coming of Belgium’s Taranis. Over a decade after having put the band to rest, Taranis-main man Björn Desmet apparently revived the band in order to complete some unfinished business. The result is this ‘Postmortem Spheres’, released through the band’s loyal companion of Iron Pegasus Records. But while, despite of being dead-and-buried for such a long time, a lot of things in the Taranis-camp remain untouched for the most part, this new album brings some new elements to the fore making ‘Postmortem Spheres’ both new and refreshing as well as just another lesson in regressiveness.

Although I always felt the band didn’t really got the praise it deserved, I personally loved the two albums the band released many years ago. Both the self-titled album from 2007 and ‘Flandriae’ from 2008 still found its way to my turntable regularly over the years. The authentic feel of the music, simply paying homage to many of the 80’s classics, never really seemed to get old. That part of the band, let’s call it Taranis’ core business, has definitely kept intact on ‘Postmortem Spheres’. We are again served with a good portion of first wave Black Metal that is heavily laced with Heavy Metal and hints of early Thrash Metal as well.

But besides the classic Venom and Bathory, there is an increasingly bigger share of that otherworldy melodicism and weirdness of Master’s Hammer in the music. The raspy vocals, very loud in the mix, the unorthodox riffing and the atmospheric parts add to the feeling of Eastern European Black Metal from the late 80’s. Of course, the previous two albums were not completely free of the adoration of these Eastern European mysteries, but on ‘Postmortem Spheres’ it gets a much more prominent place, but at the expense of the more thrashy sound of mainly the first album. The same can also be said of the obvious echoes of Ancient Rites that can be discerned; this, too, is not necessarily new, but resonates more clearly on this latest album than it did before.

On the other hand, what has not changed at all is the thematic content of the lyrics, which are still based on (locally Flemish) historical events and folklore – with which it also shares a tie with Ancient Rites. Take a song like ‘The Soulbridge (Zuienkerke anno 1541)’ for instance, which is about a coffined corpse that accidentally ends up in water and gets lost, that water later still seems to be stirred by the mysteriously disappeared body. Who doesn’t love a good, macabre story?

To wrap things up: while there are evident differences and there is a distinct shift in the band’s musical direction, I think it is safe to say that this is a thoroughly Taranis record. It has the same regressive nature, still hailing those Metal Gods of the 80’s, there is still enough Bathory and Venom to enjoy, but the emphasis has clearly been tilted to the peculiarity and eccentricity of Master’s Hammer. To put it more simple, if you liked Taranis’ first two albums and have a knack for good 80’s Black/Heavy Metal, this will just be another album up your alley.