Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus – The Child Must Die

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There is a raw elegance to physical and emotional desolation, and primitive beauty in stark ravenous climates and landscapes. The same can be said of The Child Must Die, the new album from Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus which involves all across seven cold and uncompromisingly atmospheric soundscapes. The band’s previous releases have already explored similar ravenous climes, but as good as they were they all dramatically pale up against the Philadelphia duo’s new offering.

Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus first unleashed their sonic corruption in 2012, the band originally a trio going on to release a self-titled demo that first year and the attention sparking debut album Synkkä Tuuli in 2013. Personnel exits left original guitarist Mika Mage the band’s sole member and the creator of the Väinämöinen EP which immersed further into cold and barren yet inciting aural scenery inspired by his Finnish heritage and the Scandinavian black metal scene. Now with vocalist Joel Robert Thompson (Omelas) alongside Mage (Lawrence’s Creation), Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus return to those biting cold, vast wastelands with The Child Must Die but also with a new power and invention which pushes a promising project into a force coming of age in the extreme metal scene.

Based on The Kalevala, a 19th-century Finnish piece of poetry and with its lyrics adapted directly from the national epic by Mage and Thompson, The Child Must Die immediately submerges the senses with its opener in a pestilential, plague like swarm of riffs bound in alluring grooves. Wondrous Sampo quickly and persistently expands that initial rush; band and album unveiling a far more mature and dynamic weave of textures and sonic flavours than seen from them before. From composing and sound to technical expression and production, the release is an immense step up from, as mentioned, the bands previously impressing propositions. It still retains the raw and caustic quality of those early songs but instead of polishing them as many would have done, simply weaves them into a magnetic tapestry of enchanting and melancholic beauty. Guest keys from Lawrence Wallace virtually swim across the senses, every melodic wave offering a balm but equally an enhancement to the infertile and forbidding landscape engulfing the imagination and coloured ravenously by the raw throat scarring squalls of Thompson.

It is a fascinating start to the album quickly surpassed by its title track. An opening caress of guitar melody within a gentle kiss of keys is bewitching but finds itself soon overwhelmed by a torrent of riffs led by the vicious beats of guest drummer Jeff Willet. Like a consuming cloud with scourge like intent, the corrosive weight and intensity of the song sweeps all before it, but keeping hope a ripe possibility keys and melodies ignite the surrounding shadows simultaneously. It is a hellacious tempest when bearing its soul, but masterfully top and tailed by the warm kiss which began it all.

Let Them Perish comes next, its initial presence and nature a predatory stalking of ears which is almost sizing up the terrain before uncaging another frost encrusted, grimly lit and harrowing swamp of emotion and sound. The track epitomises the new stature and depth of the Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus invention, every unholy and rabid persecution of the senses comes with layers of contradictory but complementing radiance and melodic imagination. This lifts the fiercest atmospheres and darkest ambiences, never derailing their toxic rabidity but providing pocket oases to cling to in the face of the piercing sonic storms.

Feast Of the North Farm is amongst the most ruinous and frigid proposals of sound and emotive scenery on the album but its sonic swing and frosty, but inviting grooves spiced with symphonic seeded luminance, gives it an invitation impossible to resist whilst Amidst the Waves creeps into an even more hostile and erosive climate with the tones of Thompson bordering on insidious at times, the music too. It all leads to a resonating melodic flirtation of a finale though and another compelling incitement within The Child Must Die.

The crushing atmosphere and suffocating weight of Väinämöinen surrounds the listener next but again keys and the persistently impressive enterprise and craft of Mage’s imagination radiates a celestial heat and resolve onto the dead terrain. It enthrals from start to finish, the bass standing like Canute against bitter waves just one thrilling twist in the unrelenting sonic and intensive deluge; just a shame the tracks is closed with a fade-out.

Completed by the spellbinding instrumental The Night She Died, Mage simply owning ears and thoughts with his nimble creative fingers, The Child Must Die is an inescapable declaration that Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus is inventively and imaginatively ready to join the frontline of ambient fuelled black metal, and give a great many current exponents a real run for their money. We will say it again; Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus has come of creative age and in turn given metal a new cold feast to devour with The Child Must Die.

The Child Must Die is available now via Infernal Kommando Records digitally and on CD @ https://nihilistinenbarbaarisuus.bandcamp.com/album/the-child-must-die

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RingMaster 06/08/2015

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Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus – Synkkä Tuuli / Väinämöinen EP

 original lineup — with Manuel Rodriguez, Mika Mage and Serpent Ov Old


original lineup — with Manuel Rodriguez, Mika Mage and Serpent Ov Old

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 Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus coverbites 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.

Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus cover 2   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

RingMaster 2/04/2014

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