Nightbringer – Terra Damnata (Released April 14, 2017 – Season of Mist Underground Activists)
Pure chaos and destruction, Terra Damnata is another gem from Season of Mist Underground Activists (checkout my take on Dodecahedron’s little party of chaos of here). Terra Damnata is an abject aural assault through which Nightbringer study death and nothingness. The vocals feel as though they were tortured from a demon and the guitars and drums come together to mimic the sounds of the apocalypse. Within all the chaos this was an exceptionally well structured album, possibly an odd compliment but, the organization of the songs can make all the difference; imagine if Hallowed Be Thy Name was an afterthought tossed in the middle of Number of the Beast. Each track flows into the next and the soundscape of one compliments the next. An album to be taken as an album, Nightbringer are terrifying and have produced a hellish piece of art with Terra Damnata.
Nightbringer waste no time opening the gates of hell – no atmospheric intro track, no soft opening – just straight into torment and strife with As Wolves Amongst Ruins. The vocals and instruments begin their assault with the opening beat of the track, layers of music exist from the hammering drums to the skittering screech of guitars to the spoken scream of vocals. Misrule is ominous and promising, easing into existence a switch is flipped and everything accelerates to tech death speed with double kick and sweeping trems. The note runs are atonal and pure torture, conjuring images of being pursued in a horrifying endless maze. The longest track on the album, Let Silence be his Sacred Name, is a massive composition. Unlike Anomie from Violet Cold, which was a composition of minimalism and softness, Let Silence be his Sacred name is brooding and massive. It opens with keys which quickly explode into the expected harshness but, underneath everything, a single flute trills at moments. This sudden introduction of sound catches the ear and adds an unexpected element of beauty into a landscape of pure horror. What hit me strongest this far into the album was how natural the vocals feel. Nothing is strained; it is like the three-headed monster that is Naas Alcameth, Ophis, and ar-Ra’d al-Iblis were born to produce the sounds of hell. The level of extreme is brought down on Inheritor of a Dying World but, each note continues to war against the next. Less oppressive the drums take full command as the nearly spoken vocals deliver a Trieste on nothingness. “Inherit a world of dust / there is no solace / no earth-born respite / for those who bear the Serpent’s mark / no companion for your flitting doom”. Continuing with the more open and restrained feeling, Lamp of Inverse Light has a massive atmosphere and the vocals drift up from a deep chasm. The drums take a commanding lead on the track as the guitars are held back. Absolutely crushing, Serpent Sun rises from the atmosphere of the previous two tracks and everything feels bigger as the album returns to the destruction of its opening. The drums continue in their command but now share centre stage with the screaming guitars and demonic vocals to close the album.
The Coloradan occultists deliver again with Terra Damnata. Death and chaos reign as the gates of hell are ripped wide to allow demons to walk the earth. Put this in your earholes and stare at that gorgeous artwork, gaddamnt!