Friday, June 9, 2017
NIGHTBRINGER – Terra Damnata review
NIGHTBRINGER – Terra Damnata
Season of Mist
Even though I own a couple of NIGHTBRINGER releases, the latter ones, I've never written about em. (Maybe I shouldn't be writing about em now.) Basically it all had to do with ill timing. The band started out in 2000 but didn't hit my radar until 2010 with their Apocalypse Sun full length. A year later I took a break from blogging and in that time the band released two more full lengths and a couple of short form releases. Over all that time I've read plenty of reviews, articles, online discussion group postings, etc. about the band. Some of it grounded in reality and other stuff pushing things to the realm of complete ignorance.
Lets get to the basis here shall we? NIGHTBRINGER are, and especially on Terra Damnata, firmly influenced by Scandinavian (at most) black metal. When I listen to this I'm thinking MARDUK, MAYHEM and EMPEROR all got together to put out a super-group collaboration release. Some people might say they have an avant garde approach which later day DEATHSPELL OMEGA employs. That could be true but then again the bottom line is that when the release opens with "As Wolves Amongst Ruins" you're pretty much concentrating on the pummeling effect as the music gallops forward like the four horseman of the apocalypse riding across the land. The so-called esoteric avant garde elements seem so minor that only a hipster douche bag would be overly concerned about em. I push the same point on the second cut "Misrule".
Seven years ago the mainstream metal media (aka: hipsters) would routinely slag any USBM act that dared to follow the same path that the Scandinavians had already laid forth even if they added to it. In all honesty I never liked any USBM act back in the late 2000s who jumped onto the whole DIMMU BORGIR/CRADLE OF FILTH bandwagon or tried to recreate BURZUM. But while the media elite were slagging certain bands they tried to push other USBM acts that were supposedly "progressive" and "pushing boundaries". The fact is that those hipster acts were not even playing black metal. Then NIGHTBRINGER finally comes into their own and shows that yeah we can push the whole symphonic black metal thing but bring it up to date. So when I continue to listen to this their fifth full length I can honestly say they've reached that plateau.
I think everything cool about this band and album can fall into one song, "Let Silence be His Sacred Name". It's starts out like a peaceful dream sequence with a somber piano intro. Then it breaks into a nightmarish ferocious blast beated nightmare. You wake up only to find yourself in a occult inspired insane reality. The music takes plunges from the furnace faced riffs into a chasm of despair. I'd would say "atmosphere" but that's hipster speak for "No blast beats/No tremolo picked riffs". You get the idea. Despite the opener, which to me is like Panzer Division Nightbringer, "Let Silence be His Sacred Name" is the finest cut on Terra Damnata. And that might be the release's Achilles Heal.
While the last three cuts are interesting enough, all of the technical chaos that you've already been subjected to takes a toll on your interest. Only one cut finally breaks the monotony from the rest of the release. That's pretty much the rub. There's a good reason why this sat on the shelf for weeks. When I first got it I gave it one listen then moved on. The second time I played it I didn't even get through it. With all of that said it's still a good release. No doubt it will find it's way on some end of year best of lists.