By Bryan Camphire. If the music you’re listening to does not give you gooseflesh, you are listening to the wrong music. A relative of mine told me that when I was young, and I have found those to be words to live by.By Bryan Camphire.
|Artwork by David Herrerias.|
If the music you’re listening to does not give you gooseflesh, you are listening to the wrong music. A relative of mine told me that when I was young, and I have found those to be words to live by. Terra Damnata by Nightbringer is nothing short of hair-raising. In a sea of seemingly innumerable metal bands at present the music can tend to blend together. In turn, it becomes increasingly difficult for bands to distinguish themselves. How does one continue to sound extreme in 2017 when seemingly nothing is shocking, one wonders. If a metal listener begins to think that things all sound the same, that it’s all been done before, I say, look harder. Discover Nightbringer.
Three things are really impressive about Nightbringer. Firstly, their philosophies run deep. Recent interviews from this year alone (here and here) will enlighten the curious and open-minded reader into an inkling of what the band’s lyrical content and spirituality is all about. They certainly do not mess around with what they do. Their seriousness and conviction befits the intensity of the devotional music they produce. Secondly, the fact that they function as a live band gives their music a living breathing feeling. This is not a bedroom project. This is not music with a thousand guitar overdubs that could not possibly exist live. These men mean to come to a town near you to spread their blasphemic gospels. Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, the music itself impresses with its sheer ferocious potency.
The music on Terra Damnata is complex. It is symphonic. It is the sound of an uprising, the sound of an overthrow. One thing that stands out almost immediately are the soaring lacerating lead guitar lines, way high up on the neck, tremolo-picked. It conjures up images of a rapidly spreading brush fire engulfing everything in its path, coughing up smoke, reducing all the eye can see to charred hapless embers. The heat of these leads feels like a laser. This is the sound of something that will make conservative parents nervous that this music may just irrevocably corrupt their children. The rhythm guitars are crisp and clean and ablaze with fury. Three of the band’s six members contribute vocals to this album, which certainly keeps things interesting. The vox range from vicious screams to chanted spiritual incantations. The synths are sinister, supplying the tunes with sorrowful minor key melody. The drums are breakneck. The patterns change up often. The playing is immaculate.
A highlight of the record comes midway through the release, "Let Silence Be His Sacred Name". After a demented piano waltz serving as an intro that sounds like it’s being played by some sickly count in a high collared black cape high up in some castle spire, the full band break into a furious riff in ⅞. That meter can often sound off kilter, but you might not even notice the odd time if you blinked. By two minutes into the tune, the band have broken into half tempo, and the riffs are murderous. It’s a tune worth listening to on repeat.
Terra Damnata is indeed a perfect soundtrack to this ‘cursed land’. From the stentorian opening of "As Wolves Among Ruins" through to its final cut, "Serpent Sun", on Terra Damnata, Nightbringer tear you apart worse than a vulture’s beak. Lasciate ogne speranza voi ch'entrate.