Release Date: 02/07/2022
French black metal entity TATTVA is never one to disappoint and their latest release Naraka continues this winning streak. The album was released on February 7th on Wilt-Shine & Geistraum Records & Pileofheads. The project’s sole member J is yet one more shining example of the power of solo black metal acts.
The latest album features haunting Eastern influenced melodies, instruments and atmospheric tones. This coupled with the already dark and haunting essence of the album gives the whole release a sort of mysterious and almost mystical feel to it. The opening track Anima Oppressi (a vinyl exclusive) is a perfect example of this and opens the whole release with that haunting element.
Each and every track on the album is somewhat different though and some of that can be put down to the wide range of influences that J draws on. When I was last speaking to him I asked the difficult question of who he felt he was influenced by and his answer was “Dissection, Deathspell Omega, Selbst and Blut Aus Nord”. Elements of each of these acts can be felt throughout the album, along with numerous others. This may just be me personally, but I can feel some elements of early Old Man’s Child in there too in the more melodic segments. It isn’t the influences that make this album what it is though, it’s the way that they’ve had the best parts of each drawn out, altered, and arranged in a way that makes them into something completely new.
There are three key elements to this release that make it a must listen. The first is the vocals on the album. They are basically perfect black metal vocals, sitting right between raw, aggressive, understandable, and powerful. They work well with the dissonant, melodic, and atmospheric elements on the album. Which brings me to item two, the atmosphere on the album. I already discussed it before so won’t elaborate, but its highly immersive and really adds a lot of depth and character to the release. Lastly the guitar work on the album completes it all. The number of killer riffs and the amount of variety in tone and style really elevates this release to a higher level.
As stated, there is plenty of variety found between tracks, not just in style but also in tempo and tone. Songs such as track 4. And…Death… / Jati are slower and more minimalistic yet remain highly impactful due to their focus on atmosphere and the vocals really being allowed to shine through the mix. Then other tracks such as track 6 Liberated / Prani lean more towards the melodic side of things but bring with them a brand new wave of energy and excitement. Track 8 Expiate / Nama Rupa has some real doom metal influences, taking things to a slower, heavier place. Finally, you have songs such as track 3 Judgement / Manu Shya that lean more heavily into dissonance and break things up nicely.
Overall, this is a fantastic release and sits firmly in my top 10 of black metal albums released so far in 2022. The sheer amount of variety found on the album mixed with the raw talent in musicianship and songwriting ability make this a must listen. If you’re a fan of black metal in any capacity, then I suggest checking this out.
Listen to and order the album: