Upon discovery of the present work, what may first make an impression is the utter disregard for names and appearances. It is not only that the executors behind the work are themselves veiled in anonymity, at least as far as the publication in itself is concerned, although their identity is probably known through third parties or private correspondence to some. Words are probably howled in improvised inspiration, and their particulars and meanings also remain unrevealed to us. We must avail ourselves singly of the music.
The presentation, the hiding away, the detachment, the sending out of this poisonous beverage in a bottle, is the mark of a predatorial mind, a reaper who seeks to obtain things beyond adulation and the monetary hold that effectively seals the “selling out”, which starts by the openness of the artist and its being psychologically, then functionally appropriated by the masses and the medium. Independent and prudent minds in this regard, the people behind Mastema remain masters of their artistic destiny, sending out but the dangerous lance that is The Grand Holocaust of Flesh as a veritable destructive, maddening trance.
Mostly the result of a mechanically functional drumming to support razor-sharp, focused guitars, the distinctive flavor, however sublimated under the guise of what could be described as raw black metal (without descending into box-labeling without reason), is accentuated and lead by a decidedly perverse vocal performance, every bit the uncaring and transgressive spirit that entirely defines this release.
§ Anchored Spontaneity, The Revealing of Character
Something that comes through any kind of work, but especially through works of Art, is the character of those behind it. This may be felt in one way or other, and sooner or later; most of the time sooner than later, and usually through the attitudes that development say about the patience and thoughtfulness that went into the craft in question. For, as Heidegger would teach us, there is something to learn by looking at art from the vantage point of craft, that its quality as art may become therefore clearer. In chosen technical constraint Mastema carves a direction, avails itself of specialized tools, and in allowing improvisation and wild spontaneity to rule, they turn those tools into weapons that clear a path.
It is in this sense every bit the correct kind of minimalism, where each of the parts is essential yet performing barely necessary functions, without that implying a lack of taste or sensation of energy. On the contrary, despite the uniformity in style, and the clear subscription to a genre, each of these tracks is quite a unique spirit. Moreover, each of these spirits appears undoubtedly the brother or sister of its neighbours, particularly within each of the two volumes of which this album is comprised.
In its blatantly and naturally demonic presentation, Mastema achieves a hiding away; by dint of the overt display of a savage side, in every aspect musical and extra-musical, their humanity is shielded; it is thus also that we discern a disdain for petty social graces and gratuitous showmanship of other “artists”. A character that is naturally moved away from the need for social attention can place substantial more attention on the welling up of sorcerous energies and their occasional channel through, and so transmit, Black Metal.
§ The Art as Sorcery, not Cosmetic
Sorcery can take many forms, but it is essentially though generally speaking individual sets of techniques through which humans attempt to interact with the hidden properties of the universe. Hidden in that they are not apparent to the sensations, or perhaps even measurements, and thus may refer to a mechanics of relations and information sets behind what are known to the natural sciences as ‘forces’. In an efficient black minimalism that acts like a weapon upon the mind rather than the customary ‘artwork’ that is valued for its forms alone, or more pathetically, for its social component.
Yet not all effects are equal, and in Mastema we seek and find an urge towards the primal, towards the beast beyond man; that is, not the one from the past, but the one into which can be evolved by embracing a way to power through the fire of action, a devotion to timeless precepts and not the passivity of a religious subscription, whatever its kind. Simple yet powerful, discrete yet unique, The Grand Holocaust of Flesh is a treasure for the few, a monstrous riddle for the many.