2. Dark Red Light Upon The Bomos
3. Images Of The Mystic Sphere
4. Tones Towards The Empyrean
5. The Grand Psychotic Castle
6. Into The Faculty Of Wonderful Secrets
7. Llizidah's Hypnotic Children Waltz
Tartaros is the one man project of Charmand Grimlock (why is he named after a Dinobot?), mostly known for being the live keyboard player for Emperor. The Grand Psychotic Castle is actually a re-release of the '96 EP, with a newly recorded intro and two new tracks tacked on to the end, intended to stir up interest for the new full length coming later this year.
As for the '96 material, it may have seemed experimental for black metal at the time, but a lot has changed in three years. It is fairly standard Norwegian black metal with omnipresent keyboards similar in style to Emperor (surprise!). It is engineered by the mighty Pytten for maximum sound quality, and I'm sure Norway devotees will love it. However, I cannot recommend it to anyone else on the strength of the older material.
The real treats are the extra tracks. "Intro" is a brilliant piece of keyboard madness which built my expectations very high, only to be let down by the following four tracks of older, less original material. Thankfully I was rewarded after those by the two new tracks, which can be described as experimental, intriguing, and challenging. "Into the Faculty of Wonderful Secrets" combines extreme black metal with traditional and classical elements, similar to Arcturus. The best track is "Llizidah's Hypnotic Children Waltz," which is not heavy at all (in the traditional sense) but very disturbing. It consists of the keyboard weaving a symphonic melody with occasional accompanyment by an eerie, ghostly children's choir punctuated by shrieks of pain and terror.
Given Grimloch's musical growth in the last few years, it was a smart move to re-release this EP and give the world a taste of the new Tartaros. Based on the strength of the new tracks, I'll be eagerly awaiting the full length.
Review by Scott Wilcox
Review date: 07/1999