Nux Vomica: Nux Vomica

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Nux Vomica: Nux Vomica
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Nux Vomica: Nux Vomica
Doom Metal, Post-Hardcore, Sludge Metal
Relapse Records
April 1st, 2014
Release length: 44:21
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Nux Vomica hails from the deep trenches of the Baltimore, Maryland underground. The group formed in 2003, which also saw the release of their first demo, and has been crushing listeners continuously since 2005’s debut EP The Uninspired. 2007 saw the release of their debut album A Civilized World, which was followed-up in 2009 with Asleep in the Ashes, both issued through Aborted Society Records. In the years between, they ushered out three split releases, another EP titled The President is Dead, as well as Embrace the Cycles EP in 2011 before officially signing with Relapse Records for their self-titled album for 2014. Have the years been good to the group, or is Nux Vomica just a bit too much for its own good?

“Sanity is for the Passive” has a very rich distortion to the guitars that make the dirty audio sound a little more aggressive, making the start more like Sludge Metal that moves off into a mixture of Post-Hardcore and Crust Punk that carries the harsh rasp approach of the vocals perfectly. There are times the speed drops to a trudging pace, but the impact varies. The first time feels like a soul crushing experience, but about half way through comes off more like filler as a bridge between it and “Reeling,” though the atmosphere it weaves before almost going silent makes it effective enough to kind of be worth getting drawn out as long as it does. It builds up the clean depressing notes at the beginning, growing into a dark and mournful Doom Metal performance Cathedral or My Dying Bride would be proud of. This strict style focus makes up about eight-and-a-half minutes of the performance, eventually jumping to faster riffs once more without losing the cold melancholy that existed earlier.

And then there’s the nearly twenty minute closer, “Choked at the Roots.” This one starts off with a catchy bass groove that picks up some melody as the guitars fade in. At three minutes and twenty-four seconds it seems like you just experienced an instrumental introduction that could have been its own song, but wasn’t separated for some reason. It takes another minute for the track to finally kick in, changing from a toned down atmospheric Progressive Metal piece to another somewhat aggressive Sludge Metal performance with some blackened riffs and drum patterns in spots, such as at six minutes in. Around ten-and-a-half minutes, the pace slows down, allowing the bass to stand out once more with some Ambient feedback and effects from the guitars, making the audio landscape as abrasive as sandpaper. The drums slowly fill back in to the song’s faster pace with Melodic Death Metal hooks abound for a decent amount of time before things slow down once more. At this point it does start to become too much, again coming through like extensive filler before the two-step furious closing material kicks in.

While Nux Vomica isn’t exactly going to change your life, it’s a solid slab of what the underground best represents. The band’s mixture of Doom Metal, Sludge Metal, and Post-Hardcore with whatever the hell else they decide to throw at you makes for some engaging performances. The main drawback is the amount of time filler that appears in the first and final track of the release. But the most surprising thing is that it took so long for Nux Vomica to find themselves on Relapse Records, as this is exactly what this label has come to be known for, especially as of late. Admittedly, Nux Vomica is a recording that you need to experience more than once to fully enjoy, as the three songs do make it more of a journey than a traditional recording. Once you do the surprise in shifts between genres and tempos will wear off, but what is left behind will still have you coming back for more.

01. Sanity is for the Passive – 12:40
02. Reeling – 11:53
03. Choked at the Roots – 19:48
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Nux Vomica
Nux Vomica

Digital review copy of this release provided by Relapse Records via Earsplit PR.