Album Review :~ Nexion - Seven Oracles

When someone tells you about Icelandic black metal at first a scenario will click automatically in your imaginary that now you are going to spin some abyssal, cavernous, furious, orthodox black metal hailing from the land of the midnight sun with blurry, cold, wintery weather. That surpasses the usual stereotypes and presents something enjoyable, chaotic and decidedly well-presented. While some excellent band attempting to sell their flavor of the month band to potential listeners, some simply exist outside of pre-existing molds. Some challengers exist, such as Nexion. The geographical shift in the propagation of black metal has changed drastically over the past three decades. Iceland is currently spewing forth the most interesting blackened acts. Casting darkness and death upon us Icelandic black/death metal horde Nexion found that their views on Black Metal, the Occult, and the origins were perfectly in synchronizing and prove that they are the insane, evil black metal fury in their released works. They burning with eternal delight, in the darkest reaches of the concrete garden. This not only sounds like traditional black metal but also forges through the unknown in cultivating a distinct sound that will continue to place them as one of the prominent black metal bands for decades to come.

After a long year of slumber finally, they have unleashed their debut studio effort "Seven Oracles". Latest grimoire is the culmination of them where they played fast, grimy and primitive black/death metal consists of pummeling drums, atonal melodies. "Seven Oracles" released via Avantgarde Music with 46:32 min running time along with an aptitude for dark atmospheres with intense and uncompromising sound as ever. Their new opus whole compositions are an extremely filthy and unsettling piece of sinister euphoria and unearthly ambiance, astounding, critical acclaimed, claustrophobic misery, enigmatic melodies and the right amount of brutality. The rawness of it makes it ideal for the nostalgic, Bringing back the past days when Black Metal was intended to be unsettling and highly creepy. When I was spinning their latest studio effort for the first time I was overwhelmed, invaded my ears and this album sounds so authentic, mature and truly epic. This is triumphant sophisticated, spine-chilling black metal. Nexion banishes all our doubts regarding the genre describing the music of "Seven Oracles" and putting particular emphasis on the first word and rekindle my endless love for black metal. I cherish all band members unsurpassed quality, ability and skill along with tremendous effort radiantly portrayed in this album with excellent diligence and nailed it. After a multiple listen their debut studio effort infused me with their unabating, powerful, overarching, chromatic, multi-layered,ultra-dense, monolithic black metal musical style laced with a grimness which the cold icy following riffs just blew me away. Their musical style has a hypnotic effect but at the same time, the vocals and other parts of the riffing are straight forward furious simultaneously.

This whole album reflects the grand diversity of sound brought together on this album. Black Metal with unconventional influences enjoys indeed tend quite popular. It has the familiar uniqueness yet flow of a black metal record that was common back when the second wave began. A natural synthesis of dissonant sounds and disparate styles all combined in one bold, enlightened display of unbound creativity. It’s devoted to death the way black metal ought to be. Their bizarre, cavernous croak sounds sound simply magical. More a die hard-friendly reaffirmation of potency than a plea for renewed recognition, this is convincing evidence that the grim magic has faded not. Their concoction of black metal is more sprawling, adventurous, twisted into more madness, variation and dissonant. This is so damned unrelentingly heavy with such a dose of morbidity and grimness. Overall shattering and memorable enough to stave off the banalities of the other albums tunes with its lurching, grooving riff patterns and linear, raspy, chaotic black metal vocal lines. This is encompassed by an atmosphere steeped in evil and menace as well as enhance and accentuate the pervading evil atmosphere. It’s tumultuous, furious and rather unrelenting."Seven Oracles" fueled by an immediately magnetic riff and an equally gripping, bubbling bass line, the song is vibrant and fiery. The kind of music that swells the heart even as it rips with fury and speaking of fury, the song eventually ignites in a conflagration of seething riffs and blasting percussion, only then to segue into yet further bounding and barbarous variations, becoming even more dark and predatory by the end.

"Seven Oracles" opens with sonic assailment, the obtuse, grotesque sound followed by an onslaught of a tremulous, dark eerie, savage, dense swarm of pestilential riffing and a wall of blast beating, spectacular, jolting thunder of attacking drums laced with aggression, deliberate cadence that immediately set the mood then blaze into the darkness with virulent strength and fury and easily the song throws open the gates to black chaos. There’s true savagery in vocals growls, and there’s also a morphing of the sensations conveyed by the music as the song progresses, with the seething riffs reaching heights of incendiary ecstasy and the melody turning from ominous to elevating and inspirational. Their musical representation evolves into souls wandering the vicious, crushing and ominous wasteland. This whole album gives you pitch-black feel from beginning to the end with blasphemous lyrics and I warn you this is a gloomy journey.

This album is filled with a slew of cadence, apocalyptic, squalid, ominous, filthy, crawling, powerful riffs work. In each track, breathtaking, morbidly delicious, scalding, macabre, soaring riffs, bass lineups matched in a good manner with hellish, devilish chords are rightly used as an additional uncanny harmonic layer. This whole albums sound deliver a dissonant, grim feeling, sinister, gruesome, ghastly black metal with pure raw energy. A massive piece of musical brutality and so damn immersive and evil. “Seven Oracles”  endures beauty of black metal. This album indulges strong songwriting and brilliant musicianship. Vocals howling scream, hoarse, inhuman, deep rasps, deep lung-burning roars, immense, a large voice emerged on this album in a good manner and intertwined perfectly with their utterly spellbinding, obtuse, bizarrely arrogant, mysterious, fully blistering, grandiose black metal and embedded perfectly. The vocals ranging dynamically through savage growls make this album even more intense. Overall you will get sinister, gloomy, desolate, mysterious ambient from this whole album.

Each song has energy and fluency. Stand out tracks are all of them. Album artwork is atrocious, grisly, indelible. The production gives the music a powerful clarity, the blood-rushing atmosphere, drum propulsion and vibrant guitar and bass performance producing a non-stop surge of adrenaline. The rocketing rhythmic drive subsides past the mid-point before Nexion return to the grim ferocity and tumultuous explosiveness of the song’s main course, with the vocals reaching a crescendo of barbarity just before this expression of fury comes to an end. Overall “Seven Oracles” whole album Perfectly balancing dark eerie atmospheres with ravaging Black Metal. This album is Spectacular,engrossing, significant, rich that oozes rawness. Nexion manages to catch that atmosphere of Katharsis and the likes of that. This album sounds so authentic and a truly remarkable sonic journey from beginning to end. Indeed this album is such a true gem. This is highly recommended to add it in your collection. Nexion strip back the black metal aesthetic and explore new avenues. If you are looking for something different, epic this pure unadulterated black metal album is perfect. "Seven Oracles" is a persistent attraction towards the void of existence. Nexion alive and once you dig in it's impossible to escape. Such excellence that revisits a piece of art that defined a genre and which reminds us time and time again that black metal is Krieg. In one record the listener is exposed to all the power, glory and contradictions inherent in this black metal thus making it a fascinating artifact from the dark past, and an essential piece of black metal listening.

My Rating: 

Reviewer: Souvik Basu. Published on 28/06/2020

Underrated: The exquisite 90s death metal of France’s Sthygma

This post highlights the obscure 90s death metal band Sthygma from France. I’ve pulled out their two releases from my personal collection, and I hope to convince you to check them out. I absolutely love this band, and I think it’s a shame that they vanished into obscurity before reaching worldwide appeal. France has never been known as a hotspot for death metal, which likely worked against the band in the global market. In attempting to research the band, the only interview I even found was within a French fanzine that the original publisher didn’t even have a personal copy of, so my information about the band remains lacking. The information on metal archives also indicates that each member of Sthygma seemingly fell into oblivion after the band ceased, as none of the members are listed as having been in any other bands. All mystery aside, let’s get right into what we do know:

Sthygma formed in 1993, and they put out two releases before breaking up sometime in the early 2000s. Both releases are part of a single loose conceptual arc based on their album titles, however, there is not a consistent narrative across the lyrics. The first release was the 1995 EP titled Act 1: Sthygma. The second release was a full-length album released in 1997 under the name Act 2: Khalimäa, although calling it a full-length might be somewhat generous, since the final bonus track is the entirety of their debut EP combined into a single track. The band was a three-piece act that maintained the same lineup for both releases.  That lineup was Quentin Moreira (drums), Arnaud Hattat (guitars), and Dave Morel (vocals & bass). Dave Morel was the main songwriter and lyricist, and he was also responsible for the band’s artwork and logo. He also provided album artwork for Dementia’s 1998 album Answer, which was another death metal band out of France.

There are many bands that have been lost to the sands of time, but why Sthygma should be brought up from the depths is because of all of the qualities that made them unique, innovative, and experimentally different. Musically, they could be compared to dissonant-era Gorguts, however, Sthygma’s music was not drenched in dissonance, and it included more movements. They interweaved something akin to the avant-garde nature of Gorguts alongside sometimes atonal playing and moments of profound beauty, but without ever losing sight of the intensity and brutality of death metal.  Sthygma’s music sounds just as fresh now as it did in the 90s, which is as telling as any description about how timeless their music is.

The music wasn’t the only thing that stood apart from other 90s death metal acts as they also had a novel album aesthetic and thoughtful lyrical themes. Both album covers used bold colors – the EP drenched in green, and the LP in yellow. Instead of the gory works of their contemporaries, their album covers were sensual and almost psychedelic depictions of elongated human-esque bodies. On Sthygma a woman’s torso is seen melting into the background that is conjoined with another feminine figure with a more masculine figure between them.  On Khalimäa a similar woman is depicted towering over a second woman. Further hints about the depictions can be drawn from the album titles, and although I cannot say with absolutely certainty that these translations are correct, I believe that they’re both references to Hindu mythos. Khalimäa is likely referring to Kali Ma (with ‘Ma’ meaning ‘mother’), who is often considered to be the kindest and most loving of all the Hindu goddesses. Kali is traditionally depicted with four arms, and as we can see on the cover of Khalimäa, the knife-wielding woman has four arms. There are also some unorthodox qualities to this image too, which could indicate a differing interpretation, as Kali is depicted with hooves on the album cover, so it’s difficult to know more about the image and what it means without being able to track down the band.

The lyrics are largely poetic and introspective. All of the lyrics are written from the first-person perspective on the first release, and are more varied, often told in third person, on the second. The lyrical content varies, with some depicting mythological stories, with ‘(Let You) Hear Out the Mermaids’ being a tale of being tempted by a mermaid, ultimately resulting in the protagonist’s death.  As another example, the song ‘Inner Peace’ is about struggling with mental illness. The lyrics are largely abstract, with the aforementioned examples being somewhat more straight-forward. 

If you needed yet another bizarre facet about this band, they released their Sthygma EP on a three inch CD – a practice that was just as uncommon then as it is now. Although Act 1 is difficult to obtain having been released through a now-defunct label, Act II is still cheap and pretty easy to track down. Note that Act II was released through Kaly Productions, which is another label that is now defunct, so if you want to add the Act II discography album to your collection, be sure to seek it out soon. I love it, and I hope you do too! You can find both albums on Youtube, but I've also included a couple of tracks below for your sampling pleasure.

Author: Kyle Messick

Plamya V Nas released debut album

Russian Folk Metal band Plamya V Nas released their debut album «Vremena». The album was recorded at the band home studio, and mixed/mastered by Vladimir Lechtinen in "Blastbear Sound Studio". 

Arida Vortex New Album Available for Streaming

Russian Power Metal band Arida Vortex released their new album «Riders of Steel» in "SoundAge Productions". The album was mixed/mastered at "Navaho Studio" by Arkadi Navaho. Artwork done by "Mayhem Project Design" .

01. Guests From My Nightmares
02. Small Toy Soldier
03. Riders Of Steel
04. We Will Rise Again
05. Run To Nowhere
06. My Turn
07. The Invincible
08. Damned And Killed
09. To Be By Your Side

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