Reviews by Jason Guest
Yes, more delights from the underground. Belgium’s L’Hiver en Deuil bring us their debut EP, Ter Aarde; all the way from Singapore comes Nechbeyth‘s EP Coerce Creed; Sweden’s Wan bestow upon us mere mortals their second album, the gruesomely dubbed Enjoy The Filth; and to top it all off we have a 7” split, In Commvnio Tenebrae, from Colombia’s Nebiros and Bolivia’s Nekromanteion. Is it me or is it getting dark in here?
L’Hiver en Deuil – Ter Aarde
Bookended by two grand and ominous instrumentals, Ter Aarde, the debut release from Belgium’s L’Hiver en Deuil is a raw, harsh, and beautifully melancholic and atmospheric affair. While ‘Ocean Black’ begins peacefully with gentle arpeggios and a sullen vocal that soon swell into waves of blackened riffs coloured with sorrowful melodies against a backdrop of misery and malice, the steady pace of ‘As’ brings a despondent aspect that evolves into a brooding and melodic slice of black metal frost. A storm summons ‘Gesel’s agonised menace from the darkness, the cold emptiness of the atmospheric passages coloured with melodic and hypnotic bass lines to open the track up to broader vistas. ‘Fatum’ and ‘Gekluisterd’ both give further scope for the band to explore their darkened solitude and, enhanced by the production, the ice cold melancholy of the album blends the bleak with the subtle hues of the onset of winter.
As with most atmospheric albums of this ilk it can be repetitive more than hypnotic and the tracks follow similar arcs, but the band are too astute to allow the album to wander into territories already explored to their potential. With lyrics in English, Dutch, and French, while the content may be lost in translation to those who don’t speak the language, the sentiment and depth of feeling certainly won’t be. Recommended.
7.5 out of 10
- Ocean Black
Nechbeyth – Coerce Creed
Singapore’s Nechbeyth don’t like you. They don’t like anyone. Were the world to explode, it’s a pretty safe bet that Nechbeyth would be sat on some neighbouring planet, pointing and laughing as the remnants of this worthless rock drifted further into the depths of space. There’s the obligatory intro, the quiet before the storm, then comes a martial assault bound in crushing chords and defiant drumming. From ‘Ruination Conquest’ through ‘Eradicate Vertex’ into ‘Coerce Axiom’ and ‘Lynch Directive’, Nechbeyth show no mercy. Their approach is uncompromising, their delivery incendiary, and their goal utter destruction. Drenched in reverb and echo effects, this is the embodiment of violence and everything – guitar, drums, vocals – are a blur of manic ferocity. Other than the fulfilment of the band’s directive to destroy at all costs, there’s no logic to any of this. Maybe that’s why it blurs into one more often than not. Chaotic, raw and primitive, Nechbeyth have no concern with originality, only lawless ferocity. Job done.
7 out of 10
- Intro + KSMT Oath
- Ruination Conquest
- Eradication Vertex
- Coerce Axiom
- Lynch + Outro
Wan – Enjoy The Filth
The first thing about this album that hits you is the production. Everything bar the vocals is distorted. This is exactly as the title says, filthy. Raw, primitive, savage, aggressive, abrasive, chaotic, the next thing that hits you is that Sweden’s Wan don’t like wasting time. With thirteen tracks in thirty one minutes, only three of the track break the three-minute mark. Every track is a compacted, compressed, and fiercely contained blast of utter hatred. Stripped back to the gnawed bone, as old school as you can get, Enjoy The Filth is steeped in 80s punk-fuelled and blackened thrash. The production is awful but that’s probably because the band kicked down the doors of Studio Beast, set their gear up, and blasted out all thirteen tracks before anyone had chance to say, “Can you play something to give me a level?” Though some tracks could have done with more of a kicking to differentiate them before committing their twitching cadavers to tape, nihilistic, devastating and malodorous throughout, there’s only one thing that this filth is good for. Wallow in it. It’s good fun.
7 out of 10
- Day Of Reckoning
- Pentagram Rockers
- Swing The Hammer
- Ni Skall Dö
- Pagan Metal Damnation
- The Charger
- Northern Brothers
- Enjoy The Filth
Nebiros (Col) / Nekromanteion – In Commvnio Tenebrae (Split 7″)
Spewing their bile into the world since 1990, Nebiros have long been churning out blasphemous filth wrapped in the kind of lo-fi production that, on the surface, sounds no better than amateurish. Dig beneath the surface though and there lies a band with a clear sense of structure and dynamic control, a band that lives and breathes black metal’s wrathful grandeur and continues to forge its own merciless path, but in sticking to their guns as they have with ‘Yo Pecador’ , Nebiros are beginning to repeat themselves.
With only their 2012 Spirit of Darkness demo to their name, the much younger Nekromanteion from Bolivia have clearly got it together. In terms of structure, dynamic control, and nailing their conviction down in the recording studio (or shed as the case may well be given the lo-fi equipment that somehow captured this performance), the savagery that underpins ‘Occult Revelations’ is on a par with the much more experienced Nebiros. A good start for the band, let’s hope that they develop this as they should.
As splits go, it’s a pretty good pairing. And both bands are of the kind that make you wish that once – just fucking once – that they’d get some half decent recording equipment.
6 out of 10
- Nebiros webiste? No, but they do have a Facebook Fan Page
- Nekromanteion website? Don’t be silly. This is black metal! You’re not supposed to be able to find it.
- Nebiros: Yo Pecador
- Nekromanteion: Occult Revelations