These gnostic Greek black metallers have been plying their trade since 1999, steadily releasing challenging yet catastrophically effective albums that are adored by those who hear them, yet ignored by the majority of extreme metal’s audience. Hopefully, with Liber Lvcifer II-Mahapralaya, this ridiculous situation is about to change.
Thy Darkened Shade are almost operatic in their blackened intent and with opener “Luciftias”, the band have crafted an opulent introduction to their world of occultism. “Veneration for the Fireborn King” cheekily kicks-off with a riff even Satyricon would deem too catchy (this is not a complaint!), before erupting in a frenzy of structurally diverse and technically impressive black metal movements. And so it goes for the entirety of the album. This thing doesn’t stand still for a second and whether Thy Darkened Shade are delivering on a heads-down blackened thrash attack – or opening up their sound to brain-frazzling levels of technicality and grandeur – they’re competing at the highest level throughout.
“Sathanastasis”, “Acausal Current of Thanatos”, “Veneration for the Fireborn King” and ‘Typhonian Temple” all lean into the symphonic but without fully committing to Dimmu Borgir-levels of theatricality. This semi-grounds Liber Lvcifer II-Mahapralaya in a world of arcane and spiritual black metal manifestations, acutely designed to reflect Thy Darkened Shade‘s gnosticism and anti-cosmic Satanism.
Often dissonant and disorienting, Liber Lvcifer II-Mahapralaya is an album that requires full commitment from its listener but the rewards, and they are legion, are so great as to render any apprehension completely and utterly moot. Whether you are a fan of black metal or not, there is so much to appreciate here that you can’t help but be floored by the magnitude of Liber Lvcifer II-Mahapralaya‘s 9 mesmerising tracks.
Ultimately, Thy Darkened Shade have presented an album that’s highly artistic and yet, most importantly, highly accessible; all within a genre hardly renowned for its accessibility. The first album of 2023 to truly make us sit up and take notice, Liber Lvcifer II-Mahapralaya is a work of genius from a band who deserve to rise swiftly up the ranks of extreme metal’s notoriously picky hierarchy. 9/10
Thy Darkened Shade‘s Liber Lvcifer II-Mahapralaya is due for release on 10th January 2023 via W.T.C.Productions