A review by Craig Podmore of ‘The Black Vault’ (VoidFront Press)


‘memento mori…memento mori’
‘Remember death’, the Latin phrase above denotes, casually used within the epicentre of this fine work. It couldn’t be more relative. This tome is the very epitome of all things failing, collapsing and atrophying; it is the poetics of rigor mortis ad infinitum. Regarding the Christian, Latin theory of ‘memento mori’, Socrates once stated that, in relation to philosophy, its practice is “about nothing else but dying and being dead”. In correlation to M’s The Black Vault, this couldn’t be more apt.
The haunting language of The Black Vault elicits a hypnotic, unsettling and esoteric vibe. It is funereal without a heart, yet, the words live with a strong pulse, a pulse that negates any desire to accept existence. After all, this is about death and solely that. As these misanthropic sermons pulsate with regressive puss, it heralds a kind of pseudo-Freudian anxiety, the abnegation of, the fruitlessness of sensuality; the meditation of incessant brutality in a wave of erotic bloodletting – “a candle burns as dried menstrual blood coats the limp cock” or “a cock inserted into a fresh heart, still tepid”, fragments of violent, sexual discourse intersperse amidst the deathly spews of Thanatos influenced erotism that couldn’t be misplaced in a Bataille novel. They’re the Bataillean songs of sex and death, fucking the idea of finality with a bloodied knife – the piquant phallus is a deathly tool in this universe (such as it is) that M has so finely conjured up. Reverting back to the Freudian elements, it is a Freudian tomb encased in an executioner’s denizen of sexual liberty.
M’s language and form is cutting and as sharp as ever as its godless malaise constructs a maelstrom of violence and total embrace of the desecration of the human frame. It is the antithesis of harmony although the ebb and flow of M’s work pervades throughout readers’ bones and marrow, stagnating any sense of hope or benevolence. This is the power of M’s vitriolic, poetic power and it’s with sheer clarity that his words most certainly creep under the skin. It almost has a presence and one that shall stick with you sometime after reading. The short, condensed lines deliver quick stabs/jolts of savagery but in the most aesthetic of ways; if ever you want to read a book where the writer manages to orchestrate, articulate (perfectly well) beautiful passages exploring decay, self-annihilation, nothingness and the decomposition of the physical being (as well as spiritual, not in the sense of spirituality but in the sense of transcendence that hurts) then read M’s work. The embodiment of this work is an act of catharsis; whilst it resonates with a nihilistic punch, it certainly applauds its acceptance of emptiness with a pervasive void-like laughter.
The landscape is the main exhibition here, most probably its protagonist, as it is most graphically described, it creates a sense of actuality; it is the face of emotion, the landscape is a scar, a black vault. You can almost smell and taste the stench of putrefaction throughout; you can feel the cold, barren and ice-laden abstract of the horizon, M transports you with force, no warm invitation to such land of barbarism and slow deaths. He often describes ‘walls’ falling, collapsing, closing in etc…this symbolism frequently appears, perhaps, this is to signify the futility and fear of our narrator/character/abstraction (that mirrors the overwhelming landscape as noted), it is the claustrophobic bite of death, a vestibule unto the throes of deathly ecstasies, the realm of the anxiety of existing, the wanton desire of death, the notion of ‘have it done with…’ rhetoric that hauntingly stings within its layers.
This is fierce work. The very flesh of this book’s innards torments, excites, horrifies and provokes like all great books should do. Ready to confront M’s The Black Vault? Enter at your own risk…


You can get ‘The Black Vault’ here


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