There’s definitely something going on in Belgium perhaps it is the success of certain bands within the black metal scene there but more are springing up all over the place. The oddly named Kuar Nhial are one such example and the trio behind it a new entity with a debut 4 track EP. They have already got plenty of ideas here and it is no short and quick attack that can be easily summed up but sees tracks developing over a half hour running time and combining other elements as well including post metal aspects to the overall sonic template.

‘Corvus’ has a glistening and autumnal sort of depressive introduction which builds with an atmospheric doom like caress before suddenly exploding with a caustic bouncing drum tumult and grating guitars. It takes a while but when we finally get vocals they are coarse and raw around the spiralling and melodic riffing. There’s a near hardcore bark about them or one that would fit in with a distempered sludge band and the elements are all here combined to make an interesting overall sound. Bass is well defined and brooding in the mix giving a depressive edge and a sense of nihilism about it all. There is ugliness but also a sense of control and with the melody a maudlin and funereal touch that drew me to this straight away. ‘Nonam’ adds some backing vocals to the strident tough bark of the main throat-slinger, music is at first gentle by comparison but suddenly explodes into a muscular and hefty drum attack. The two styles almost flirt with each other and it’s an intriguing contrast of moods and emotions. With the vocalist yelling out the words “I am dead” at full throttle before the next drumming explosion it’s a hostile and nihilistic sermon and a half.

At times there is an almost medieval blackness at play here as at the start of Spiraal. The melody is again forceful and thick and vocals go deeper down in the rough and weathered aspects. There’s some odd sounds going on in the background and the bass heft here really makes a dent. I find myself really concentrating on the instrumental passages rather than the vocals as to me that is where the band really make an impression. This is further highlighted by last track ‘Lamantate’ which is almost instrumental apart from some odd synthesized distorted tones that are far from human and takes on a near psychedelic aural kineticism. I am actually reminded of mid era Hawkwind a bit on this one as much as the likes of bands such as Wiegedood and Oranssi Pazuzu and a Krautrock ethos way back in the past. To me the band excel here fluidly jamming and I expect this is a powerful trance inducing statement live. Early days yet for a group only forming last year but on strength of this I doubt it’s the last we will hear of them.

(7/10 Pete Woods)