Damn, it has been a while since I’ve had those shivers running down my spine while listening to random stuff. Such is the case with Elixir of Distress, which is masterminded by Polish artisan Tomhet. Speaking of underground black metal, this feature is the absolute definition of a juicy record offering a plentiful of amazing times that you will hardly ever find on popular zines. There are awfully scarce details spread across the internet about this band overall. You need to work your way to get your hands on more and I love it for the end result is fucking rewarding. Hopefully, you will follow my lead.
Even before getting to experience the music itself, Elixir of Distress gives away its nature immediately due to its transparent name, in a sense. Having alongside the actual CD portraying a place of cold and desolation, the imminent feeling of total oppression arose before hitting the button. And then it all fell into place…
“Kontynent” marks the the beginning of a harrowing existence that revolves around the darkest hours of mankind. A terrifying voyage that speaks of no fictional topics but rather the actual truth that will ever so remain in the corners of history itself. This debut sets off immediately with a grieving tone that expands into a reminiscence leading to the Soviet forced labor camps. Given the harsh essence of the lyrical theme, the album goes uneasy and commits to the horror in a very realistic and outward manner.
The track list is comprised of 5 dissonant hymns that share one goal to translate the misery of the past unto the listener. It starts off somewhat sombre with frost-coated riffage and commanding vocals that envision the highest degree of physical and mental torture. And so it continues to build up to a level of sickening negativity that drowns the light of the hope by the end of the 50 minute cycle completely. Does this mean that “Kontynent” is not for everyone? Indeed, very much so!
The overwhelming dissonance that reeks of each track is unrelenting, playing a vitally important role in encapsulating the images of horror that keeps you within the prison. Amidst all the terrors emanating from the beating instrumentalship, there are splendid acoustic moments that break up the compositions in a seamless way, breathing in variety and subtle grace. Elixir of Distress set a thick atmosphere that leaves almost no room for rest and even in the presence of those handful moments of calmness, they seem just as diminished as the life spark of the prisoners that used to linger in the camps back then.
“Kontynent” packs exquisite melodies that further solidify the grave and omnipresent sickness that roam alongside each track. Expect nothing short of bone chilling guitar frenzy and enthralling vocal work that paint a living picture of those outrageous times where hopelessness was the only companion in the face of the oppressed.
I’ve got to admit it is a shame that I cannot disclose the album in its entirety for reasons unknown to me even though it is already out, so you will have to go with the link below where you can stream “Workuta”, the 4th piece off the track list.
Note: “Kontynent” was recorded between at at IX 2013-2015 , produced at IHS in 2017 and released in 2018 through Winterheart Music.
Elixir of Distress got me by surprise with the great attention to detail as to the production of the album. The mixing and mastering reflects the hard work and motivation to deliver an experience that gives away as much as possible, so that the listener can immerse himself completely into the nightmarish reality of “Kontynent“. Additionally, I highly credit the well crafted arrangements and dedication to play out the scope of negativity that the aforementioned lyrical theme encompasses.
“Kontynent” is a merciless record that embeds depression, wrath and devastating brutality that each of us could have been subjected to. Surrender yourself to this CD, open thy mind and feel the distress flowing into your body. Then, you will hopefully appreciate the times that we are currently living in a tad bit more.