Shattered Calm: A Split Review
August 16, 2011
Welcome to Bahrain, the home of Qafas and the stomping ground of the reigning king in the black metal scene, Learza. After releasing his first two records, “فجر/Fajr” (Dawn) and “الأحلام/Al-Ahlaam” (The Dreams), I couldn’t imagine that Qafas could surpass himself with what hes already done in the past but as the mountains seemed to grow wider and the fire in my heart began to sink deeper and deeper, I was in for a surprise. “Kafkaesque Retribution”, the new ultra-slap in the face record from this mastermind of a musician was finally in my hands, the only thing I needed now was Learza actually next to me so I could feel the power of he gives off. Little did I know that “Kafkaesque Retribution” would actually make me feel as if Learza was towering over me, breathing down your neck like a hungry wolf that hasn’t eaten anything in days.
As I started to open the vault to this unknown, insane asylum of a record, I was unaware of what could jump out at me within seconds. With two tracks on this EP, I was prepared for destruction, agony and I was praying to the holy God above that Qafas was going to use just one sample over the course of this EP. Slapping together elements of ambient noise and an organ feel on the opening track, it sets the mood perfectly for whats about to happen on the second track, “Kafkaesque Retribution”. Did my ears just hear a sample at the very beginning of the second track? Was God playing a trick on me or was I just way too gone and unfocused at the time that I was just hearing what I wished to hear? No, Qafas was a blessing in a horrible, disgusting outfit that gave me the brightest star to look at with zero percentage of going blind. Qafas combined his classic funeral doom and ambient influences with a black metal vibe that everyone should let pass by their ears. Some might call it pure bliss, amazing energy or a dwelling beast that’s ready to explode into the world, I simply call “Kafkaesque Retributions” the opening theme and official soundtrack to rapture that awaits us at the end of days.
How can you tell when you are experiencing an extremely effective prelude? When you get so wrapped up in it that you could swear that an entire full-length could be centered around it. What is terror? It’s the pounding from deep within your chest that won’t abate, sweat on your brow despite the ever present hum of the A/C, the slight involuntary trembling of your hands and lungs burning for air with the overwhelming feeling that the world is caving in around you; walls melting in as if suddenly transported to the heart of a very active volcano. What is apprehension? It’s the ever so subtle shift of the irides, left then right and back again, the inability to stop shifting your weight keeping in-tune with the jilted pace of your wandering eyes.
When you think of “Kafkaesque Retribution,” how would you describe the overwhelming emotion that envelopes you? As being lost in something so utterly filthy, disturbing, yet ironically intoxicating, and as haunting as the albino full moon reflected on a disquietingly calm ocean surface, never belying the diverse oddities that thrive within its waters. Time ceases to exist in the vastness of existence, comparable to the feeling you get when standing alone in a valley that seems to stretch on in all directions encompassing the entirety of the known world. As opposed to the enclosed life one experiences in heavy populated areas, you are completely naked and vulnerable before the ever patient oppressive omnipotent silence of a celestial body that has the power to reduce the flow of your sense of time to a crawl not unlike that of visceral black tar oozing from a man-made wound on the planet’s surface. Safety is a commodity that this seemingly inanimate life-giver has robbed from you and the only thing to do is forge on. Break the barrier of fear and transverse the army of green blades with even the wind whispering comforting lies laced with understated malice into your ears.
An evil groove and echoing screams etch on your eyelids in abrupt violence, your blood coagulating over the deep scratches, the following:
Thy carnage will ensue, the wrath I was accursed to, and given to by subterfuge,
this blood-written oath I vow to you, by the black vines of malice that tear within my soul