Apart from the guitarist, who claims no such influence, everyone seems to hear Mahavishnu Orchestra in Thantifaxath’s music. With a bit more distortion and blast beats, though! Everything here is angular, especially the guitar arpeggios and tremolos, built on chromatic progressions and wide interval leaps.
After several years of silence and personnel changes, always carried out anonymously, the Toronto trio delivers yet another utterly disorientating opus. Hive Mind Narcosis is demanding for the listener, who is allowed little respite. Even when tempos are slower or the instrumentation less dense, the harmonic content never provokes a sense of resolution. We’re left on our toes from start to finish, dragged along by lenghty progressive songs. Musical ideas modulate, develop and sometimes reach maximalist proportions, as in Surgical Utopian Love, which exploits its melodic motif to the point of exhausting its possible variations.
Careful listening reveals accentuated experimentation, particularly in the vocals which are sometimes augmented by a variety of effects, making them less monotonous than they once were. The drums have always been rather utilitarian in Thantifaxath, underlining the irregular meters without much ornamentation. The new drummer, however, deploys more finesse when a certain reduction in density allows him to do so. The album sometimes veers into relatively atmospheric territory, though the tension is always there. This is a promising direction for the future, as more ambient sections would do well to enrich the sound. For now, Thantifaxath retains the dissonant language that has become a trademark since Sacred White Noise (2014).