|Black Metal, Death Metal
March 27th, 2012
Release length: 22:59
Overall, Black Horizon sounds really good. The overall quality has a deep presence to it, which seems to benefit from a crisp recording that leaves a dark and ominous path of destruction in its wake. Surprisingly, the guttural vocals here really sound low and intimidating at a volume level that just a little louder than the slightly sharpened guitars. The bass helps to add a bit of a bludgeoning backing to those chords, but doesn’t really come through as loud as you would hope. But, when combined, they still weave daunting and melancholic atmospheres to each song. The blunt, assaulting edge largely comes from the drums. The snares literally snap in the mix with great command as they hammer away with varied paces meant to pound into your skull, and catchy rhythms that help give the music a hint of groove. The cymbals are superb, often ringing out perfectly despite the lack of an echo, and the bass kicks have a strong click that asserts their dominance over everything next to the aforementioned growling.
The effort kicks off with the lead single, “Decaying Monument,” utilizing an introduction of gun fire and other war-based sound effects. These occur again during the closing piece “Death Emotion,” but are more like beeps of machinery than the air raid alarms and weaponry at the beginning. This doesn’t help to much, but sometimes a similar environment without any actual sound effects can be felt in a song thanks to the chugging or stationary marching foundation from the snares. However, in the video, it is put to good use to incorporate rapidly changing clips of live performances before going into a largely dull colored band performance in what seems like a run down practice space, or old warehouse. Cliche, but effective. The song itself pounds away with a mid-paced intimidating assault that seems to harness a bit of a war-theme, but in a manner similar to what you might expect of Behemoth off of Demigod. The blistering drumming just asserts a commanding, relentless tone with guitars that often find themselves composed of chaotic blackened chords. Unfortunately, the next two songs that follow sound much the same as this one, but with enough subtle differences to keep them engaging. Towards the end of this one, however, the bass really stands out with some louder twanging that sounds great against the chaos that erupted from start to finish. It’s a shame it only seems to appear at the end, as it would have sounded great throughout much of the song.
From here it’s just one unrelenting track after another, regardless of any similarities. “Repacious Temptest” moves at a slower pace, which only manages to up the intensity factor. There are some stronger Black Metal riffs that can be found in the bridges, but the main verses end up being rather unique for what sounds like a slight gallop to accompany the trudging rhythm prior to it erupting into the chaotic sound introduced in “Decaying Monument,” but not quite as fast. “Black Horizon” continues this trend, but utilizes quicker material. The machine gun bass kicks really present a mechanical sound to the song that the gutturals accentuate into a hopeless brutality. When things do slow down, a creepy Black Metal style seeps in, feeling very natural and welcoming to the mix, as well as manages to keep things a fresh. “Exquisite Plague” offers up the most unique experience with twisted chords being utilized that don’t sound like a steady slow paced marching approach with blacker pounding Death Metal chords. It also weaves an environment that is simply unnerving.
Nexhymn definitely has a lot going for them, but at the same time a decent amount of issues to take into consideraton. While there isn’t a single song on here that will make you want to skip ahead at any time, it’s undeniable that what you’re hearing is largely influenced by Behemoth, Hate, and other similar Black/Death metal acts. Fortunately, you won’t be sitting back wishing you were just listening to one of those other acts. There isn’t much that ends up being really unique to this album outside the female vocals, but that ends up being one of the things that makes this so interesting. The performance from her alone is both intimidating, being well suited to the brutalizing and often chaotic music. Here and there you’ll pick up on a tone that feels reminiscent of the war-themed sound effects of “Decaying Monument.” Black Horizon is a surprising independent gem that probably won’t remain buried in the underground for too long before some label takes notice of them. Unfortunately, given the popularity of their obvious inspirations, and the interest in pushing women in Metal, this group will probably be signed for all the wrong reasons, but there’s no denying that anyone who gives this group a chance will become a fan for all the right reasons: Bludgeoning, commanding, quality Blackened Death Metal from start to finish, despite some repetition in some foundations.
01. Decaying Monument – 4:57
02. Undetermined Supplication – 4:50
03. Repacious Temptest – 4:13
04. Black Horizon – 3:18
05. Exquisite Plague – 3:29
06. Death Emotion – 1:51
|Overall Score: 8.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Nexhymn via Clawhammer PR.