Blacker than a stick of liquorice…
Review by Paul Castles
Release date: 6 July 2015
While much of black metal focuses on the ultimate journey into the hollow abyss of nothingness the genre is always sniffing out new blood to reinvigorate it and breathe new life into this most virile form of metal. If it rests in the hands of young bands such as The Negation then the rusty nails strewn across the cobweb-encased lid of the black metal coffin can be tossed back onto the scrapheap. No-one’s ready to give up the ghost just yet, certainly not this bunch of nihilistic nomads from across the Channel.
Memento Mori is the Parisians’ second album and builds impressively on the positive picture painted by debut release Paths of Obedience in 2013. The Negation feed their mind and body from the same diseased trough as the likes of Marduk and Belphegor, who incidentally they supported earlier in the year. Even the album’s imposing artwork is courtesy of Metastazis who has been responsible in the past for some eye-catching images on behalf of the likes of darklords Behemoth and Watain.
But while those bands devote some, if not all, their energies in a state bordering on satanic exultation, The Negation actually veer away from the fire and damnation theme veering instead towards an even more destructive diet of nihilism. So while remaining blacker than a stick of liquorice, Memento Mori is not bursting at the seams with Lucifer references and tales of dark and dank days and nights chasing virgins in the woodlands. The targets for these Gallic warped wonders are all too real, and all the more disturbing because of it. If you think Anaal Nathrakh you’ll be on the right road, if not quite at the actual door.
After its 20-second wilo-the-wisp ‘Intro’ the gates of hell are not so much as rattled with the knuckles as blown off their decrepit hinges as nothing short of apocalyptic anarchy explodes on ‘The True Enemy’. What follows is so dark you almost need a miner’s lamp to help navigate you through its myriad of creaking catacombs. Vocalist Asa creates a screech reminiscent of feeding time in the lion’s den and you can almost smell the bloodied stench of foul meat being ripped apart.
By the time the dust clears and a semblance of normality ensues, the jagged rhythms are left to poke and prod as the drums slowly simmer down into an almost steady pounding. It’s a pattern repeated throughout this spellbinding offering, opening flurries of nihilism that threaten to take the ground from under your feet before you’re finally given the time to regain your balance as drummer Kryos goes into overdrive with the archetypal blastbeats.
‘A Prayer for the Ones I Will Have to Kill’ is the biggest juggernaut in the parking lot, beginning as an authoritative slow grinder of death, thundering steadily along before allowing its fetid black juices to circulate around its rotten core. While ‘End of Cycle’ is not so much a setting on the washing machine as a tenacious tornado that wreaks havoc with its riffs, painting an aural picture of decimation, ‘Visions of Doom’ is slightly more measured although every bit as biting.
By the time we get to ‘Resistance’ yours will not so much have been broken as trampled across and hung out to dry. The levels of fury are upped to near intolerable levels leaving a carpet of carnage frayed around its edges having been subjected to Asa’s excruciating screeches, pummelling Parisian blastbeats and a triple-pronged rhythmic assault. As ‘Outro’ is finally swallowed up by a sense of utter emptiness, strained dissonant voices, possibly from the Nuremburg Rally, clamour to be heard through the enveloping fog. The Negation, of course, don’t do happy endings.
8 out of 10
- The True Enemy
- Sacrifice the Weak
- Parasite Fall
- A Prayer for the Ones I Will Have to Kill
- Faith in God’s Corpse
- End of Cycle
- Visions of Doom