Stronghold Records 2009
America is not necessarily known as a wellspring of practitioners of esoteric black metal but that may well change after hearing the debut EP from Ptahil. Ortus is comprised of two noisy spells of mysticism and hidden knowledge. The album opens with a the complexly named track, The Infinite Truth of the Word of God is Translated By The Corrupt Fallen Man. A disharmonic cacophony is swept away by some icy melodic riffing that reminds me at times of a completely stripped down take on Deathspell Omega. A forest of raised spiritual swords stab the nightsky, piercing it, until hateful riffs of ibex blood rain down on the huddled masses like a corrupting plague. The riff repetition serves to entrance the listener while the vocal chaos erupts like lightning streaking across the sky. And this is only the first half of the track. The song's inner most sanctum is walled in by cavernous vocals and somber guitars for a doomy contrast against the malevolent storm that preceded it. The second track is Dies Irae! Dias Illa! Solvet Saeclum In Favilla! Ortus. The guitars evoke doomy, plodding meditations which lurch forward like a mud-soaked mourner in a torrential downpour of rain and ash. The song is forlorn in its contemplation and single-minded in its devout spiritual grief as the track never strays from its riff pattern or dismal atmosphere until the 14:43 mark of the song where a blasting black metal riff hurtles into the ears like the cleansing fire of a nuclear holocaust. Ptahil unites doom and black metal into a wet, rusty alloy, strong yet dismal. A mystical contemplation of mood and forbidden philosophy that is full of regret and hate, yearning for merciful oblivion.