“Illumination through Satanic Gnosticism!” proclaims Ptahil’s marketing material. “Lyrically manuscripted from Satanic introspection and musically composed from dissonant flagellation.” I cannot make this stuff up.
Described as Satanic black/punk/doom, Ptahil seem to have way too many “slashes” through their genre to be any good. (It’s usually my experience that the number of descriptive genre words one has after their name directly correlate to their level of suckiness). However, one minute into the first song on 2011’s For His Satanic Majesty’s Glory is all you need to change your mind.
Ptahil make the kind of black metal that black metallers deride in public but secretly love – they bring a rock’n’roll sensibility to their darkness, creating songs that are both creepy, discordant, and utterly catchy. The vocals – which have much more in common with doom metal than black – beg for you to shout along, and the riffs roll over each other in a wall of distorted chugginess that you can’t help but bang your head to.
To me, For His Satanic Majesty’s Glory has more in common with sludge and stoner metal than the corpsepaint tribe, and there’s even a punkish vibe going on in songs like “Lilitu”. This is the kind of black metal that makes a mosh-pit burn up before your eyes, that makes even the most placid among us want to throw ourselves into the fray. This is the kind of album that reminds you why dwelling in the darkness is so much bloody fun.
If I could compare them to anyone, it would be Vreid, but with more fuzz and balls. (Wait, that didn’t come out right …) There’s no trace of the frosted bleakness of European black metal – many reviewers call Ptahil’s sound “hot”, rather than “cold”, and I think this description is apt. Listen to “The Black Flag of Total Death” and the absolute album killer, “The Black Fire” and you’ll understand what we mean. Ptahil’s Satan is not about emptiness or cold-hearted misery – he is the Satan of unbridled gluttony, of anarchy, of freedom.
Ptahil are a two-piece from Indiana, conceived by multi-instrumentalists Mhaghnuis and Luathca, and they’ve just announced their new 7-track album, The Almighty Propagator Of Doom And Despair, will be released Dec 21 this year (Doomsday according to the Mayans – coincidence? I think not). They also released a new video of the opening track, “Satanicus Sabbathicus” – which I’ve embedded below, in case you haven’t had enough Ptahil for one day.