VON GOAT - Septic Illumination CD
Nuclear War Now Productions
Before I delve into this release I'd like to put some things into perspective about the original band named VON. They emerged from San Francisco in 1992 with their now cult status demo Satanic Blood. Although they reportedly started out in 1988 and had a 1990 demo, Satanic. It's their Satanic Blood demo which is routinely referenced or name dropped. Over the years, especially after so many CD and cool vinyl reissues, they've become a major topic of debate within extreme metal circles as well as a subject of fascination on hipster metal forum sites. I believe VON's significance and influence in the realm of black metal is somewhat overstated. Bands like Brazil's SARCOFAGO, Canada's BLASPHEMY and Sweden's BATHORY all released raw lo-fi style black metal prior to VON and I might add with better quality.
If VON made any significant influence it was by showing people you could create and record minimalist primitive sounding black metal in a basement/bedroom with little or no musical talent. I know my saying that is the equivalent of shitting in some VON worshipers mouth but some people need to stop striving for enlightenment and try achieving consciousness. There was nothing surreal, atmospheric or ground breaking about VON. If you look past the imaginary mystique being portrayed by sycophants with dubious motives you find some extremely sterile and repetitive sounding material. The bands who came afterwards, who cite VON as an influence like Finland's BEHERIT, took the style and expanded upon it with better results.
So here we are now many years later and the mastermind guitarist/vocalist of VON, S. von Goat aka: Shawn Calizo is back. Technically this is a side project since sporadic reports state that VON has reunited, there's a 7" EP out and some sort of drama concerning the VON Music Group. Whatever the case may be Wrest of LEVIATHAN fame is involved on here and I suspect is responsible for dragging Calizo out from whatever hole he was in to bring this to the forefront. To put it bluntly this is VON gone psychedelic which is not very surprising since psych black metal is all the rage with hipsters. Now before I go on a tangent equal to punching a hipster in the face I will say that Septic Illumination is interesting. It will take four or five listens to get to that position because at first you just might turn this into a frisbee. Secondly there are some decent cuts on here that will pique your interest long after the hipsters leave for whatever the next fad band turns out to be.
Like I mentioned earlier this is blackened psych damage which is far beyond what Calizo stumbled with years ago. I dare say this was recorded in an actual studio but made to sound low quality. Wrest's drumming sounds fairly mechanical early on which keeps with the VON theme. Songs like "The Gathering" and "Thru Your Skull" are nightmarish. It's not till you get to "My God Your God" that the mood is far more doom laden-ed with highly distorted guitars laying down a background foundation and Calizo gurgling out lyrics incohesive. "Syringes" actually involves melody amidst it's battery of blast beats but has a cool 60's guitar psych intro. "Spiders" is one of the best tracks by far with "Voodoo Word" a close second and anyone into PROFANITICA, TEITANBLOOD or PERVERSOR will agree. As far as the rest of the material on Septic Illumination, I kinda look at it like entering Hell while still high on narcotics.