Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nexhymn - Black Horizon EP (2012)

Those learned in Western US death metal might remember a band called Throcult who released a few albums earlier in the 21st century and generated some small amount of buzz. Nexhymn is essentially an evolution of that group, formed by guitarist Ivan Alcala and pursuing a no-nonsense brand of pure death metal with flirts with some level of technicality but reins it in under the banner of unforgiving brutality reminiscent of Vile, Suffocation, Malevolent Creation, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse and even a few hints of late 80s Pestilence. They've acquired one of the better female front women I've heard in this genre since Rachel Van Mastrigt-Heyzer (Sinister, etc), named Holly Wedel, whose applies her guttural percussion with appreciable volume, but the real star of the show here is the production, so loud and level that it feels like a shower of bricks descending upon your delicate brain-box.

Harried and intense without ever feeling over-indulgent or wanky, Black Horizon pummels out six tracks of potent and balanced devastation that are sure to win them some attention. I can't say that the composition here is all that original or that the vocals distinguish themselves from such a large crowd of similar acts in the field, but once Nexhymn begins to beat on you they simply will not let up, and tracks like "Undetermined Supplication" and the charnel dynamics of "Rapacious Tempest" are sure to win over the brutal purist. The drumming of Pete Gonzales is insanely flexible whether the band is blasting away or pursuing one of their choppier sequences or dissonant, atmospheric passages, and though there's a consistent aesthetic that binds the first five cuts (the closer "Death Emotion" is a slower instrumental), the band explores an effective level of dynamics in each track that they never feel backed into a corner.

It's not the most memorable material, in terms of possessing those 'money shot' riffs which make you want to put the songs on an endless loop, but I think what they might lack in catchiness they do compensate for in sheer ferocity. Goddamn, though, that production seems as if the band are already 10 or 15 years incubated (which, if you include Throcult, I guess they are). Each piece of this puzzle contributes at exactly the necessary level, I simply think the compositions could use some sticker sequences of notes. That said, there is little to stop this band from being snatched up in short order and seeded upon the world like a newfound plague. Fans of either the Polish death metal diatribes of bands like Behemoth, Hate and Vader or the elder Floridian masters owe it to themselves to check this out. Neck braces imminent.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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