Nunfuckritual – In Bondage To The Serpent

The reaction listening to In Bondage To The Serpent, the debut album from Nunfuckritual, is like the hypnotic appeal of road kill or some blood soaked devastation. A mesmeric grip takes hold as one looks and searches deep into the dark and mayhem, at times feeling uncomfortable and not sure if the experience is pleasurable within the dirge of sound and intent but still unable to turn away. As curiosity of dark things is undeniable the incessant creeping black metal filth from the album, is impossible to resist, it’s thick aural blood consuming the flesh. Whatever one’s individual response to In Bondage To The Serpent the resulting impression is marked and deep, just like the monstrous black depths of the black intense soundscapes within the album itself.

Nunfuckritual is the malignant creation of four men already with a renowned pedigree, the quartet of Teloch (Nidingr, Mayhem), Espen T. Hangård (Altaar), Dan Lilker (Nuclear Assault, Brutal Truth) and Andreas Jonsson (Tyrant) coming together to conjure up six tracks containing some of the darkest and malevolent expressive intrusions heard this year. The seeds of the band began in 2006 when guitarist Teloch and vocalist Hangård began writing together, the band fully formed three years later with the addition of bassist Lilker and Jonsson on drums. In Bondage To The Serpent is their recorded debut via French label Debemur Morti Productions and whether one takes to their blasphemous extreme black metal and unrelenting oppression they will not be able to forget or ignore the virulent energy that overwhelms the ear.  

The music and tracks within In Bondage To The Serpent follow a similar make up, slow dirges and senses filling down tones that without ever leaping into explosive devastation still immerse the ear and emotions in a harsh threatening and disturbing soundscape. From the  deathly drone of opener ‘Theotokos’ through to the closing title track the intent is single minded, the music on the whole single paced, and the release a constant black wash of intense and draining sounds. It is not easily accessible at times and though varied the songs and their parts drawn out, fitting the mood and emotive feel of the tracks and content. Often one feels the tracks that come in at around 7 to 8 minutes each, over stay their welcome making continued focus hard but on reflection a shortening or omission of parts would certainly diminish considerably the power and purpose of each piece.

Each song is carefully and tightly constructed and though the oppressive atmosphere and intensity disguises the varied elements, as well as the way the band extract every essence from their ideas before eventually bringing in more, with a closer attention the distinct diversity is there. The crumbling feel of  ‘Christokos’ with its nightmarish sense of collapse of emotion, being and life, and the despair soaked haunting tone of ‘Cursed Virgin, Pregnant Whore’ being the most impressive examples on the album.

Komodo Dragon, Mother Queen’ sees the guest vocals of Attila Csihar (Mayhem) and Ravn (1349) to raise extra intrigue but it is still the rasping menace of Hangård that gives the most effective and depth to the song. The track is like the whole release, hypnotically engaging verging on mesmeric though not always with an obvious reason why. The music and delivery is beyond fault as is the songwriting at the core but it tests the attention span and the listener’s energy to retain a focus the song deserves because of length and its incessant black dirge intent.

     In Bondage To The Serpent compared to most similar veined albums this year is a stronger and more consistent release and Nunfuckritual a band that engineers good anticipation for more from them ahead. It just falls short of being marked as a must have release, though it should be looked at, with its continuous thick drone veil preventing the impressive elements from shining through. Hard work and focus gives way to their discovery but how many ears want listening to music to seem like labour?

RingMaster 23/11/2011

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