Review: Candelabrum – Necrotelepathy


Icelandic black metal is sooooo early 2016. I’m into the Portuguese shit now.

You probably came here hoping for something nice to listen to. Well, flushers, hold on to that hope with all your might. Or don’t. Either way you’re going to die one day.

Now that I’ve taken you down a peg or two, you should be in prime shape to absorb what I have for you today. Namely, Candelabrum, a Portuguese black metal band named after the plural of a device used to hold multiple candles (presumably “Candelabra” was already taken). Their debut album, Necrotelepathy, is named after a neologism referring to telepathic contact between the living and the dead or between the dead and the dead. With my expertise regarding the Portuguese black metal underground being what it is (a joke), if you were to slip me Candelabrum’s debut album under the pretense that it was the new album by a certain other Portuguese black metal artist, I would be none the wiser. All of which is to say that comparisons to a certain other Portuguese black metal artist will be inevitable, unanimous and not at all unfair. Candelabrum is the young pupil kneeling at the adept’s feet. The pupil opens his mouth; the adept vomits the black bile of her wisdom into it. The pupil then traipses (or mopes, probably) off to deliver us an album of harsh, depressive wizardry.

This says Candelabrum

This says Candelabrum

The first thing that will strike you upon listening, even before you can wrap your ears around the music itself, is the production value. It sucks. But it sucks gloriously. At first I thought maybe my awful computer speakers were contributing to all that crackling. But no, Necrotelepathy will cause all speakers to crackle. This is not simply lo-fi due to financial restrictions, and certainly not lo-fi for the sake of conformity. Candelabrum’s pursuit of a noisy, rickety, blown-out sound constitutes an artform in and of itself. Nay, a form of worship. It sounds as if the album was recorded in someone’s kitchenette (doubling as a rehearsal-space) using a single microphone placed on the floor behind the drumset. During a windstorm. With the windows open. One vocalist (maybe?) yowls wordlessly in the background, near one of the open windows, his voice fusing with the wind. The other vocalist is way up front in the mix, leading me to believe that he is lying on the floor near the drumset as he belts out his high-pitched manic caterwauls. The guitarist has fallen out or been sucked out the window and is blowing around in eddies of wind along with disembodied branches and dead leaves. If Candelabrum has a bassist, they should reveal to him that he has not been plugged in this whole time, then politely relieve him of his duties. (Note: I have no idea how many people are actually in this band. I’ll take an educated guess and say just one.) The only instrument which cuts through the howling storm of wind-battered instruments is a keyboard, or maybe it’s an effects-laden guitar. Whatever the case, the melodic leads generated by this instrument will be your only guide through the haze of barely discernible chord progressions.

These melodic leads, reminiscent of Burzum‘s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, are catchy and pleasing to the ear, a welcome counterpoint to the all the noise. The melodies invoke deep introspection on the cusp of sleep, where thoughts and memories bleed into voices and vistas from other worlds. For those of you who require music to induce sleep, Necrotelepathy would be a good choice. That is, until the second track begins. The album is comprised of two songs, each over fifteen minutes long. The first is repetitive, mesmeric, droning; it latches onto a certain wavelength and rides it all the way out until tantric orgasm or fatigued collapse. Come to think of it, black metal yoga enthusiasts could get a lot of mileage out of this one. The beginning of the second track is more of an upbeat onslaught: the harsh reality to which you wake after a tranquil dream; the rage-inducing drive home through oceans of traffic after your pretty chill black metal yoga class. In stark contrast to the homogeny of its predecessor, this song is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, things and other things. The award for Keeping Things Interesting goes to the drummer, who–while avoiding anything flashy in deference to mere competence–changes up the pace often enough to keep you from dying of sleep apnea.

Which is not to say that this album requires a whole bunch of your attention. It does not. Too close a listen will likely cause you to zero in on all the crackle and fuzz of the recording. Better to relax your ears, let your mind loose and just drift along. It feels strange to refer to Necrotelepathy as pleasant, but there you have it. It is neither grim nor nasty nor especially misanthropic. (Or it is all of those things and I am suffering a massive disorder of perception.) Garbage-pail production aside, I suspect the aspect most listeners will have a hard time swallowing is the up-front vocals. While one must give the vocalist credit for not always hiding behind scads of hiss and reverb like so many of these creatures are wont to do, for articulating using his mandible, tongue and palate, he also kind of sounds like a criminally disturbed muppet at times. It all comes down to how weird you like your black metal, and how much you are willing to forgive.

When it comes to black metal, my capacity for forgiveness is like unto that of a saint. But I do still have a few gripes, and they must be aired. Firstly, as mentioned above, Candelabrum sounds a lot like a certain other Portuguese black metal artist, which would not be such a big problem if that certain other artist were not the progenitor of a very unique approach to lo-fi black metal. Secondly, the same spacey synth patch is used for the melodies on both tracks; I would have preferred a bit of variety. Otherwise, what we have here is a deftly constructed album that will most likely appeal to those who prefer their black metal horizontal, pensive and dreamy–or those who fetishize bizarre production values and general obscurity.

Three Out ov Five Flaming Toilets ov Hell


Necrotelepathy is was out June 1st on Altare Productions [Editor’s Note: Richter wrote this review 8 years ago and I neglected to run it due to my incompetence]

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  • Dubbbz

    This promo got sent out absurdly early. I dug it, but Richter has a magical way with words that really nails it.

    • Thanks Wz. It was pretty painful waiting months for any promo tracks to show up. Come June 1st, Altare still had nothing about it on their site. So around June 15th or so I emailed them directly and asked WTF? And voilà: a few days later the Soundcloud promo appeared.

  • RustyShackleford

    “Icelandic black metal is sooooo early 2016. I’m into the Portuguese shit now.”

    And this is why I read the Toilet. I have big shamefully ignorant of lo-fi black but we’ve got a good dose of it around these parts today and I am digging it. This is a pretty aight jam, but I guess I should go listen to Black Cilice now because I never did. Yep!

  • I absolutely loved the first side of this record. I agree, it sounds very similar to Black Cilice but then again most all the Portuguese black metal bands on
    Altare Productions do. Just take Vetala, Black Cilice, and Mons Veneris for example. I always found the Portuguese black metal scene to be heavily influenced by Les Légions Noires scene from France. You can hear a lot of Mutilation, Vlad Tepes, and Belketre in the the sound. The Portuguese style might be a bit more emotionally driven though, which is what I love about Portuguese black metal. I can’t wait to hear side-B of it once it arrives on my doorstep! Thanks for the review! Good shit!!!

  • Hans Gruber

    Now this is more like it. Not sure if I can stomach the vocals for very long, but the rest sounds great. Guess I’ll give BC another chance as well (no, not Body Count).

  • Waynecro

    Thanks for the excellent article, Richter. It’s been a lo-fi kinda day here at the Toilet, and I can dig it.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Terrible Fidelity Tuesdays

    • Brutalist_Receptacle


      • Waynecro


  • RJA

    Nice review sir – I wasn’t too into this the first time I listened but I will definitely give another listen at some point – seems like it should be right up my alley.

  • Richter, you are such a good writer, man. Never stop writing.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    gj stumpy.

  • Hubert

    I quite like the embedded track, vocals sound a bit like Jacob Bannon’s stage banter, but they don’t bother me too much. I would like to have the guitars be a tad louder.

  • Count_Breznak

    “Candelabra” would be the plural, “Candelabrum” is the singular.

  • tertius_decimus

    “Necrotelepathy” sounds even more meaningless than “Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia”.

    • Abradolf Lincler

      . . . i thought everyone could speak to the dead with their minds

  • Shakes 999

    I……..hrrrmmmmmm…… yeah not a fan. Much like the review stated, i thought my soundcard drivers crashed for a second.

  • Eliza

    “Necrotelepathy” sound like something out of a edgy X-Men fanfic. Anyway, it’d take a few listens for me to get behind the vocals, listens which I’m not sure I’m willing to give, but I like the instrumental. Good stuff.

  • My record shipped last night. Should have this by the end of the week.

  • Stockhausen

    Great review, as always, and this A side is really doing it for me.

  • Super Nintendo Chalmers

    For a second I thought this was new Funebrarum and I was super excited to a follow up album to this.

  • 365ChaosRiddenDays

    The production sucks gloriously, yes you’re right, good write up and I have to say thanks to Tyree for introducing me about this artist. It’s not Icelandic awesomeness but rules hard in any case!