Trepaneringsritualen – Papist Pretender 2 x 7”EP La Esencia 2014
Here is yet another item to add to the Trepaneringsritualen (TxRxP) collection which is special edition vinyl issued to commemorate a May, 2014 live performance in Barcelona, Spain. Being released in two versions the first is the ‘standard’ single 7”EP in an edition of 350 copies and a more ‘limited’ double 7”EP version in an edition of 169 copies. The packaging is beautifully presented which features a large fold out poster cover, multiple inserts and postcards and 1 x black and 1 x white 7” EP. Also to provide context for the release’s theme, the cover includes a cryptic alphabetical analysis of the phrase ‘Vicarius Filii Dei’ (which refers to Saint Peter, generally regarded as the first Pope by the Catholic Church), effectively equalling its numerical value to 666 (aka ‘the number of the beast’ as nominated within the Book of Revelations).
The title track leads off the release where ‘Papist Pretender’ adheres to TxRxP’s recent song based focus, yet still retaining a dark ritualised death industrial sound (…of note the title’s initials mirrors the initials of the recent full length ‘Perfection & Permanence’. Coincidence or by design?). Here the lyrics and the hoarse distorted drawl of the vocal delivery follow a verse/ chorus/ verse format, which closely follow the heavy militant percussive thrum. Side B brings the track ‘Feral Me’ and although adheres to a song based style, it opts for a tribalised death industrial sound complete with swaying rhythm and sporadic breaks of rolling tribal drums, where the layered vocals are a particular standout.
For the second 7”EP, Side C features a cover version of a classic track from The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud (…for those unaware were a pre Der Blutharsch project). Whereas the original untitled version (…from the album ‘Were You Of Silver, Were You Of Gold’), had a folky and slightly up-tempo marching medieval melody, here cover version is faithful to a point, noting that TxRxP has slowed the speed slightly to remove the up-tempo mood and to create a much heavier and darker atmosphere. Here the main melody prominently remains, but the militant rhythm also feels more of a solemn march to war, where TxRxP clearly places a strong and individual stamp on the song, particularly due to the thumping rhythmic structure and trademark garbled and rasping vocalisations. The final of the four tracks is ‘Castrate Christ (The Sixth Hour)’, which is an alternate version of ‘Castrate Christ’ which is featured on the recent full length ‘Perfection & Permanence’. This version has slowed the song to an extremely slowed crawling pace, which clearly differs from the urgent rhythmic pummelling of the original. In fact on first listen this sounded if it was a 45rpm song being played at 33rpm speed, but once accustomed to the catatonic pace, the accompaniment of a slow soundscape drone only adds to the brooding atmosphere.
With the myriad of TxRxP releases issued in recent years and without necessarily repeating themselves the project manages to morph and twist their sound into interesting directions, whilst still keeping a foot firmly in a northern European ritual death industrial style. Another special release in TxRxP’s canon.