In any of the countless subgenres intertwined through the infamous anatomy of extreme music today, it seems all-too-easy to find one’s self inundated with a horrendous amount of disposable, insincere acts that apparently have no qualms about their complete lack of originality or honesty in their art. Some even go so far as to actually make a mockery of their sometimes legendary predecessors, by assuming the role of a watered-down copycat of sorts. In doing so, they strip the danger away from something that is supposed to make the heart race and mind spiral into another realm not of this earth. It is this reviewer’s assumption that the harshness and fury of black metal was never meant to have corporate sponsors, or to be the back drop for some lame television commercial for cars or shoes. However, there are still those devastatingly worthy hordes that actually possess substance and a true heart, pumping new life into the genre while cutting straight through the pathetic clones like so much withered and dead underbrush. USBM hell-raisers Ptahil are true warriors of the cause.
Conjured in the vile pits of Ft. Wayne, Indiana in 2009 by then lone member Mhaghnuis (battery/vocals), Ptahil made its first mark upon the gnarled face of the underground. Shortly after the release of the debut Ptahil demo, Mhaghnius (of Typhus and Dethroned fame) was joined by multi-instrumental mind of Luathca (ex-Fog / Hordes of the Lunar Eclipse / The Lurking Corpses) and a new level was achieved in the newly formed duo’s conquest for illumination through satanic gnosticism and the vision toward the end of all life!
Here, the band’s latest excursion, Anti-Flesh Existence, is joined by the material found on their sold-out 2009 EP, Ortus. Limited to a mere one hundred copies (through Stronghold Records) and clocking in at just a little under an hour, the disc serves up five lengthy, violently-mesmerizing numbers displaying Ptahil’s dedication to the anti-cosmic force. Flesh-searing riffs and cyclonic percussion blast forth in abundance, as does the vocal approach…a combination of the likes of Darkthrone and, in some spots, a style reminiscent of Venom. The galloping pace of “Universal Extinction” is accompanied by highly effective gang vocals, signaling the time to march headlong into the fray has come. The title track exceeds the thirteen minute mark and carries that torch onward with a vengeance, weaving through a sense of angry urgency and shifting tempo.
Occult sensibilities and hellish atmospherics saturate this two-headed effort from start to cataclysmic finish, but it is around the midway point of the disc that one may feel compelled to acknowledge the need for an exorcism. It is then that the abyss of eerie noise and what seems like a ritual in reverse makes it easy to recall the glory days of metal bands being accused of subliminal messages urging teens toward a self-inflicted demise. On that note, the listener should not call on a priest, but instead grow a pair as the old saying goes, and prepare for obliteration at the hands of Ptahil!!