A bit of Dutch black metal never did anyone any harm, and here we have some from Nusquama, whose members play with Fluisteraars, Laster and Turia.

“De Aarde Dorst” starts and continues with magnificent, fiery intensity. Hairs are made to stand on end. The customary obscure black metal screams intervene but such is the epic tension here that it’s like being put through a mangler. Vitriolic despair is what they call this. A thick wall of sound, desperate cries and a remorseless, punishing beat are de rigueur. But what endeared me most was the atmospheric fire that blazes through each piece. A rare quiet section enters “Vuurslag” before the intensity returns. The pace is steady but rather than injecting a new atmosphere, this was more of a case of unfinished business for me. By contrast “Eufrozyne” starts off at a fair lick and represents fiery black metal admirably, but I found more inspiration in the bleak slow section before the storm rises again for a majestic and punishing final spurt. “Ontheemd” has a forceful drive before changing tack and taking us through a number of soundscapes without losing the thread or the tension. Not all of the tracks managed to do this. “Met Gif Doordrenkt” constitutes more assault and battery, taking over four minutes to rise to a majestic height. A chorus comes in to accompany the pained and impactful rhythmic line, ensuring that the album ends with climactic power.

I liked “Horizon Ontheem”, and appreciated its fiery driving passages as well as the quieter interludes, which add a sinister touch and branch out into wider black territories. My reservation was that although the fury was there, I didn’t always find continuity and whilst it is clearly black metal, it drifts along aimlessly in parts. But when it strikes out and makes statements, its bold power cannot be denied, and I enjoyed the album’s intense aural atmospheric assault.

(7/10 Andrew Doherty)