There’s nothing like a short, snappy band name and album title that rolls gently off the tongue to attract readers’ attention, right? It may seem a tad pretentious, and I think this duo used up all their vocabulary naming the album and simply gave up when it came to the tracks, naming them I – V. I really was intrigued by this, especially as one half of this outfit is Nihil who also plays in Massemord, Morrowe and Furia among other bands and thus I was expecting something rather interesting in the post-black metal vein which is exactly what it delivers.
Track number one, err ‘I’, delves in with some wonderfully intense guitars drudging their way through the void filled with an air of mystery and foreboding. There’s a crepuscular twinkling rising through the ether lending a cosmic shimmer to the darkness. Vocals of Nihil are delivered as a callous open-throat scream that is rather unpleasant to say the least (in a good way I mean – hell, pleasantness belongs in bland rubbish marketed to easily-offended housewives, not in black metal). With a long high-pitched hum we arrive firmly within track ‘II’. The mid-paced guitar works through a repetitive rhythm that really does a nice job of hypnotising the listener and it’s easy to become lost in this. The drumming is solid, bass strong in the mix and the gnarly vocals work well with the music. This has rather a depressive tone and at times there is a grimy, sludgy use of effects through the mucky distortion. When this kicks into full swing it totally goes for it rollicking forth with great might, before breaking apart into a hypnotic dirge-like passage revealing a guitar that rings out like a siren over a fuzz-laden backdrop.
‘III’ is slightly longer at just over 12 minutes, and this one swans along with grace and elegance as one is led on tip-toe through a cosmos of swirling, crepuscular synths that feel full-on terrifying, while the foreboding bassline equally succeeds to lure me into a trance. I love the pacing of this, it is really slow and has that cloying and incredibly creepy atmosphere that I find so alluring; it feels rather like taking a midnight waltz with the grim reaper through a haunted graveyard and this is without a doubt my favourite track on this album. It momentarily breaks apart fizzling out into ambient noise before gradually building back up. ‘IV’ picks up pace again with repetitive, angular guitars and crashing drums working in a cloying, intense ambience at times bringing to mind Shining. It seems to end on a mellow note with a phased out melody that really reminds me of Nine Inch Nails ‘Reptile’.
Track ‘V’ brings this to an end…well, 17 minutes later! This shuffles along at a real droning pace, sounding filthy, nasty and incredibly unsettling. Devastating bass and a ton of distortion, terrifying vocals and what the drums lack in speed they more than make up for in intensity. Yep I’m not going to spend 17 minutes dissecting this track so I’ll just finish right here saying this is an intriguing album filled with atmosphere, intensity and filth. There are some moments that really stick out for me as something particularly special, but then other times it seems to lack that secret ingredient that makes a really great album. Not mindblowing, but a very strong album nonetheless.
(7.5/10 Luci Herbert)