This is one of a couple of albums currently on my review pile featuring Dictator of Cyprus. It might not be the most metal country in the world but he is certainly making up for that appearing past and present in a host of groups such as Necrosadist, Tome Of The Unreplenished, the self-named Dictator, Kafros Lord, Sepulchral Temple and even having contributed live to Lvcifyre. Here he hooks up with other musicians from his home country, Portugal and the UK. Sublimation got bunged on the stereo and within the first couple of tracks I had pretty much grabbed it for coverage knowing that this was going to be an album particularly to my tastes. A week or so later and I have not stopped playing it. I think the versatility and the amount of ideas going on in this debut are what basically sold it to me. You could easily call it black metal but there is plenty more going on here once the layers have been pulled back and dissected.
The band name apparently means Voice Of The None which is a bit of a misnomer as there are no less than three of the group providing the vocals laid down here adding to the drama and leaving things more than one-dimensional in that respect. Musically we start with a dark and esoteric track ‘Ia’Iaxa’ which allows the ghouls behind it to chant in a dictatorial and ghastly occult fashion. Musically it is heavily militaristic, a march of robotic overlords hellbent on annihilation and destruction. It sounds from the chants that the cast are summoning up something from the pits of hell, a great old one to perform the rite of destruction perhaps. There’s an industrial edge to it and it is highly atmospheric with its burgeoning hateful feel. Sinister and eerie, apocalyptic and dreadful this is one hell of an opening statement BUT for some reason it annoys by ending on the drop of a pin. I guess it was done with and the next track was waiting in the wings but the sudden abruptness of the downing tools just didn’t sit comfortably with me. ‘Hornbearer’ ups the madness and seething electronic elements booming in after a strange false start. We are in the realm of early Aborym and Diabolicum here and big percussive booms and whiplashing torment spreads like a foul disease. The noisy and abrasive hell of it all goes down very well and the increasing screams and hollers from the vocalists drive this to a black frenzy. About half-way through the band slow and drop a fantastic melodic airy part over the top with clean vocals rising from the electro squall. To say it hits the mark would be an understatement and as the track fades in and out with beastly growls and it comes back into play again it really sends nails down the spine as it caresses the senses. Speaking of ‘Nails’ that is the next track and a complete about turn. Ghostly and ethereal this is a slow burning crooner summoning up visions of desertion and foggy arcana; the vocals and moribund feel reminding a fair bit of early Code and even a bit of Ved Buens Ende.
Clanking machinery and a killer stalking guitar riff sees ‘Chains’ slowly gearing into life with another brilliantly catchy majestic melody. The jackbooted stomp begins to crush and although not in a speedy way this is hefty and mighty stuff, the screams of suffering rising from the bruising melee adding to the intensity. ‘They’ is another ghostly number akin to Nails and clearly shows two sides to the band. Some may prefer outright bludgeoning to numbers like this but for me they work well counterpoising things with mood and emotion. This reminds a little of the experimentation from UK based act Voices. We do finish with a flourish though and ‘Voidsworn’ is left to ravage and annihilate to the end with croaky vocals, throbbing electronics and screams summoned from the very pits.
Sublimation is a seriously impressive album, coming from out of nowhere and providing both a challenging mind-set and illuminating ideas. Voz De Nenhum are on the verge of greatness here and considering they have only just set out down their path the future for them is bound to be an interesting one.
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)