Current 93's David Tibet is an apocalyptic poet in the truest definition, as his work hinges upon his obsessive desire to transcribe and translate the revelations, visions, nightmares, and dreams that have come to him over the past two decades. The apocalyptic genres of art have come to define the possibilities of how the world as we know it might come to an end (e.g. astrophysical disasters, nuclear war, zombies, fire-ants, etc.); however, in the earliest manifestations of apocalyptic art, it was simply the chronicling of revelations given from the heavens to man below. Throughout his numerous recordings in Current 93, Tibet has embodied the whole apocalyptic tradition, all the while strengthening his admittedly heretical belief in a Patripassianist Christ, who suffers beyond the crucifixion of Jesus throughout the aeons until his second coming (this is but a brief synopsis of Tibet's complicated, Gnostic, and poetic theology).
Black Ships Ate The Sky has been in the works for almost four years, with Tibet's great friend and long-time collaborator Steven Stapleton proclaiming this to be a fantastic recording. Lo and behold, Black Ships Ate The Sky _is_ a magnificent album, returning to the somber acid folk stylings haunted by the shadows and smoke last heard on the earlier masterpieces Thunder Perfect Mind and Earth Covers Earth. As on all of the Current 93 albums, Tibet surrounds himself with an impressive battery of musicians that reads like a who's who of alt-folk-avant-rock greats: Will Oldham, Ben Chasny, Antony (as in .. And The Johnsons), Shirley Collins, Cosey Fanni Tutti, William Basinski, Al Cisneros (from Om), and the aforementioned Steven Stapleton. Black Ships Ate The Sky is thematically based upon Tibet's vision aptly described in the title as it relates to a Christian hymn by Charles Wesley called "Idumae" which repeats itself seven times (eight if you count "Black Ships Were Sinking Into Idumae" sung by Cosey Fanni Tutti), as sung by Tibet's numerous guest vocalists.
As strong as many of the versions of "Idumae" are, Tibet and his peculiar voice are central to Black Ships. He's impassioned throughout, occasionally possessed with an infernal rage as on the second version of the title track, and elsewhere adopting a gentle delicacy. The music swirls around simple guitar arrangements, laced with Chasny's acidic guitar leads and Stapleton's sidereal productions... and it's stunningly good together. Time will tell if this will be the greatest Current 93 record Tibet has produced (as many have already claimed); but it's clearly in the running.