Creating an aural blizzard within which you can feel skin and senses being flayed by artic spite and stark winds, US atmospheric black metallers Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus is one of the propositions not many know of yet but should make the time to bravely investigate. Which is why we are looking at their debut album Synkkä Tuuli and the since released VäinämöinenEP. The Philadelphia band is one of the rawest encounters in intent and presence you are likely to hear at the moment but one which below its tempestuous emotional wastelands breeds a virulent intrigue which binds attention and appetite. Neither of their releases are an easy listen or kind experiences but both leave you wanting more with the thought that given the chance recording wise they have the potential to be a commanding force.
Formed in 2012, Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus was initially a trio of vocalist, bassist, and synth player, M.W.S. (Serpent ov Old) with guitarists Mika Mage and Manuel Rodriguez. A self-titled demo appeared their first year followed by Synkkä Tuuli in 2013. Following its release both Rodriguez and M.W.S. left the band leaving Mage the sole force behind the band and the Väinämöinen EP. Before then though Synkkä Tuuli drew good attention and reactions for its intensively expressive and intrusive presence which is no surprise once immersed in its sonically caustic cold and ambient frost.
The album opens with the two parts of Ylittäen Jäätyneen Pohjoisen; the first opening with footsteps through crunchy snow as wind bites at the senses and an increasingly brewing intensive atmosphere chills bone and air further. With rhythms urgently imposing, guitars swarm over the senses, their touch restrained but sinister and icy. Courted by dark bass lines and the haunted squalls of vocals, the track is a smothering tempest but with a melodic and drone bred seduction which tempers the corrosive breath of the piece. Shivers run down the spine throughout until a respite mid-way brings a melodic beauty and peace to the track, it’s still cold hands caressing the imagination whilst offering a sheltering incitement before a venture back into a tortuous climate within part II. The second part if anything is harsher and more destructive than its predecessor, the climate a vicious antagonist but its beauty more evocative whilst its landscape moves from being an aggressive predator to a portentous siren, danger and emotive sufferance never diminishing in the heart of the track.
The production on the album is as abrading and raw as the sounds, never giving an inch to the senses and at times almost suffocating the sculpted melodies of the songs. It is in many ways a demo quality glaze adding extra harsh textures to tracks but as shown with the wonderful Itämeri Anomalia it never stands in the way of the beauty within the release. A lone acoustic guitar emerges from a wave buffeted beach, its melancholic breath and radiance irresistible and refreshing as keys and further stringed elegance paints a skilled and mesmeric canvas,
That scenic passage is soon submerged under another pestilential storm as firstly the dulled yet appealing Anhedonia erupts across the ears to be followed by the exploration of Arktinen Välisoitto. The first of the two erodes the senses from first second to last, allowing no escape from its intensity whilst its successor opens on an acidic ambience, keys soaring gracefully through its emotive soundscape. The instrumental is delicious, an aural travelogue of emotions which again shows the craft and invention of the composing as well as that of the band members, and to be honest it is these moments where Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus really shine the most.
The release is completed by the rapacious uncompromising stroll of the title track, a song which preys on the senses with curt rhythms and toxic vocals whilst soothing them with mellow expressive keys, and finally the dark instrumental Ketamiini, a piece which is as seemingly venomous as it is radiant.
It is a testing album but a highly rewarding one, as is the Väinämöinen EP. With the band now just Mage, though he does invite guest contributions from the returning M.W.S. on bass, Lawrence Wallace (Shadows in the Crypt, Lawrence’s Creation) on keys and drum programming, as well as James McClellan Dorton III (Nightfire, Antikythera, ex-Shadows in the Crypt) on vocals, the two track release is equally as dark and sonically ravenous as its predecessor. The vocals though are allowed a greater clarity within the tsunami of intensity and sound whilst production also finds a more open presence for the songs. The title track marauds over the senses first, the cold expanses of the album revisited again but with a more intimate and precise investigation. Across the rare atmosphere and vitriolic weather of the song, bass and guitars converge in a corrosion intended union but also make their own individual frost bitten temptations for a stronger and more compelling adventure than found on the album.
Second track Yo Jolloin Han Kuoli finds the skills of Mage caressing the imagination once again, his acoustic craft and storytelling a riveting incitement which relishes the emotional colour it brings alone or within the courting of similarly descriptive keys. It is a mouthwatering close to the EP, leaving a lingering warm and thrilled impression of release and band.
If you are looking for something acerbically fresh and raw from an emerging force with the potential to blossom into a quite breath-taking and remarkable proposition, then taking a look at Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus is definitely a strong suggestion. Whether they realise their promise time will tell but you imagine it will be a rewarding time watching and listening.
Synkkä Tuuli is available now on Horror Pain Gore Death Productions http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/store/hpgd062.html
The Väinämöinen EP is available from Infernal Kommando Records as a limited edition cassette and can be downloaded for free from http://gunshyassassin.com/news/exclusive-nihilistinen-barbaarisuus-stream-and-download-vainamoinen/
Synkkä Tuuli 8/10 Väinämöinen EP 8.5/10
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