Farsot – ‘Life Promised Death’

Life Promised Death
Lupus Lounge
Outside the Nuanced Ellipse

I’ve been a Farsot apologist since their debut, IIII, bubbled under an eon ago. It was a banner year for black metal with Shining, Deathspell Omega, Watain, IXXI and others responding violently to the Norwegian overfishing of the early aughts. I built a small ivory tower, from which I could pontificate and hurl minor admonishments (against lesser black metal), around Farsot’s stately dirges of erudite murk. They’re not the most prolific—Insects and its successor Fail-Lure landed in 2011 and 2017, respectively—which has helped support their no-profile, pseudonym-laden posture. But when Farsot do drop, it’s a wheel inside my wheelhouse. Truthfully, I’ve sadistically waited for their no-fireworks cessation; or worse, the Germans to falter. Life Promised Death was, upon repeated listens, the latter. The once impenetrable fortress had crumbled. Or so it had appeared. Turns out, I wasn’t totally prepared to sit out the slow burn/old-school Ihsahn synths of “Buoyant Flames,” the submerged bassline nuggets of “Nausea,” the nods to Slint in “Into Vertigo,” or the dueling eight-minute Morningrise-like vignettes of “Descent” and “Lost Momentum.” I should’ve remembered Farsot require absolute attention—to soak and re-soak in their devious sleights of (dissonant/melodic) hand. Victor Bullok (aka V. Santura of Triptykon, ex-Dark Fortress fame) has managed an immaculate production—heavy, compact, and near-crystal clear. 10.XIXt’s vocals are particularly throaty and nasty. Life Promised Death is Two Hunters without the mountains, Ashes Against the Grain with blast beats, or Instinct: Decay without the personal bullshit. Actually, it’s none of those, but a record like this needs sign posts, ‘cause Life Promised Death doesn’t hit you until it hits you.