The follow-up to their 2006 album Solarkult, the cryptically titled T/ME [3rd Level Initiation = Chamber of Downfall] is a new 32 minute mini- album from French technoid black metallers Blacklodge. It's a standalone version of their half of the split Lp with Abigor that came out last year, a weird concept album that involved Einstein, the nature of time, and a Satanic agenda. Blacklodge's material is presented here on Cd in a deluxe black digibox release that includes a twelve page booklet. Their fusion of electronic music and black metal is a little more abstruse this time around, the songs a bit more fractured and twisted than on Solarkult, but all aspects of Blacklodge's techno-satanic vision and their hard-line oro-narcotic, pro-Satan stance are intact here, with a combination of techno and dystopian electronica with black metal that puts this firmly in the same realm as bands like Aborym, Abigor, Red Harvest, and Dodheimsgard. What separates Blacklodge from their peers is the extent to which vocalist, guitarist, and overall mastermind Saint Vincent (also of Vorkreist and Merrimack) takes the techno and drum n' bass elements on T/ME....
The first song Lambda [Or The Last of The Gods; Being The Secret of SataN] begins the disc with mysterious black ambience, eerie feedback strains slicing through fragments of orchestral melody, drafts of factory noise and distant chanting, the sound slowly evolving into a chugging spacey black metal riff that erupts into a throbbing blackened disco pulse, pounding industrial rhythms surging beneath grinding guitar and manic layered vokills, for a moment sounding like a cross between Skinny Puppy and majestic black metal and an extremely bleak strain of trip-hop. As it winds down, the beat-driven BM delirium begins to break off into machine noise and dark dolorous drift at the end, with a stern male voice speaking above choirs of synthetic silicone angels.
Then "Vector G [Gravity XVI]" kicks in, all Wax Trax style stomp and black buzz, a massive electronic pummel that dominates the swarming riffing and hateful vibe, breaking into alternating blasts of violent gabber and spastic drum n bass, whipping itself into a frenzied black metal techno chaos. The music is layered with effects and glitchy noise, a maniacal frenzied black electro blast of warped dissonant riffing and chaotic arrangements, veering into soundtrack-style ambience for a moment, then dropping off into densely layered hellish dance floor industrial and grinding programmed crush.
At the onset of "Sulphuric Acedia", Blacklodge releases a shuffling mess of stuttering machine rhythms, buzzing dubbed-out bass and swirling minor key creep, then surges upwards into jackhammer techno that's splattered with glitchy drum programming and imperial black metal riffs. And closer "Stupefying" introduces a massive booming slow motion break beat into a moody black dirge, lurching through a halting stop-start riff, a sort of metallic industrialized trip-hop with dramatic riffs and thunderous boom-bap, an anguished vokill performance taking the song to evil heights, mutating into lush electronic textures and smears of processed sound and looping electronic keys that sounds something like Massive Attack remixing Mayhem.
This is a short album, but man, is it ferocious, a complex and cerebral electronic black metal beast that's highly recommended to fans of Aborym and Dodheimsgard.