Nazghor - Infernal Aphorism 01For a band only in their fifth year of existence, Nazghor sure have a lot of albums. Since forming in Uppsala, Sweden in 2012, the outfit has churned out record after Satan-loving record. Infernal Aphorism represents their sixth such offering of black metal now best served chilled. Though initially operating in a callous, misanthropic style, Nazghor embraced a full-blown melodic bent with 2016’s Death’s Withered Chants. This turn of events, coupled with increased attention to production standards, resulted in their strongest material to date. Infernal Aphorism is the logical next step in Nazghor‘s evolution: an exploration of their newfound abilities and a test of their endurance.

Following the oblique spoken word of “Opus Profanus,” “Malignant Possession” immediately reveals itself deadly. The track wields frigid malevolence with both hands, trem-picking through icy riffs, each better than the last. Though guitarists Angst and Armageddor center the song around one of the best riffs they’ve ever written, they smartly avoid beating the direction into the ground. Their Dissection ice-storm climaxes elevate their surroundings, but the duo still develops secondary elements to bolster the track’s six-and-a-half minutes. It’s an element that Deströyer 666-infused “Decretion at Eschaton” could use. The track rips with all requisite fervor but lacks the variety in composition to keep it interesting. “The Darkness of Eternity” suffers no such shortcoming. Its airy opening may evoke whiffs of Ghost Bath, but don’t let the first minute fool you: eternity is indeed very, very dark. Its charging melodic textures should earn Nazghor a warm, fart-prepped seat at the meloblack lunch table alongside sonic compatriots like Thulcandra and Watain.

Infernal Aphorism is undoubtedly a strong album. It is also rather long. In fact, if Nazghor have a calling card, it’s their inability to pare their material into lengths that make sense. For a band that churns out as much material as they do, I’m dumbfounded that they manage to find the riffs to fill out albums that regularly top an hour. Unfortunately, the sixty-minute Infernal Aphorism shares this deficiency. The first few times through the fade to black-close of seventh-slated “Ephemeral Hunger,” I was content. Right riffs, right length, rig – wait, that’s not the end? That close was so perfect. What do you mean there’s still twenty-five minutes left? By the finish of the s/t closer’s Emperor-tinged ten minutes, I’ve soured a bit. That’s not to say the material following “Ephemeral Hunger” nosedives. Any of the three tracks post-“Hunger” could slot into the central listing — hell, piano-infused “Absence of Light” is one of the more interesting tracks on the album. However, this on-going trend of indulgent lengths keeps Infernal Aphorism from greatness. The quality of the songs never truly degrades, but dammit guys, save a riff for next year.

For my money, Cosmarul turns in one of my favorite drum performances of the year. I will admit that I am a sucker for certain beats, typically those with an Inferno (Behemoth) level of detail paid to hi-hat ticks and gorgeous crashes, and Cosmarul’s combinations scratch that itch. Performances are quite capable across the board in fact, though I wish vocalist Nehkrid would put some variety into his low end-less Grutle Kjellson (Enslaved).The production passes the bass test, while the guitars’ frozen tones service the variety needed for twin highlights “The Darkness of Eternity” and “Rite of Repugnant Fury.” The latter shows “Decretion at Eschaton” how to handle the ripper modality without getting stale, buoyed by Cosmarul’s beats and a triumphant melody.

I won’t pretend that seeing that Non Serviam tag, combined with Season of Mist on distribution, wasn’t the only reason I grabbed Nazghor. As the sun flees winter’s grasp and everything goes black, those labels will once again become beacons in the coming months. However, this introduction to Nazghor is a welcome one. The quintet is heating up, with each passing release offering new signs of refinement. Infernal Aphorism is the product of that incremental development, a rough gem hewed from a frost-hardened mountain only through persistence and sheer force of will. If they can trim the wheat from the chaff, Nazghor‘s inevitable 2018 entry will be worth keeping an eye out for.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Non Serviam Records
Release Dates: EU: 2017.10.13 | NA: 10.20.2017

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  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    85 demo for “Master of Puppets” streaming at npr!

  • Nukenado

    Meloblack + DR 8
    You have successfully piqued my interest.
    The guitar notes are a bit slow for my taste but I could get used to this,.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Upload it to YouTube and play it back at 120% speed.

  • Iain Gleasure

    So you got 25 minutes of good music more than you liked. Is this really just a question of making the album more difficult to listen to in one go? Because it seems like you didn’t really have problems with this album

    • Dr. Wvrm

      I can order a triple cheeseburger at any McDonald’s in the world, but I really only have enough room for a regular cheeseburger, will eating the extra patties make me any happier? Crafting an album with natural start and end points is part of the gig. If I think the album runs too long, even with no drop off in quality, that is going to influence how I rate the experience.

      • Iain Gleasure

        Ok. The way I read it, it seemed as though you could eat and enjoy all of the metaphorical triple cheeseburger and just didn’t want to. As opposed to not being able to eat all of it even though you enjoy it.

        • Dr. Wvrm

          For better or worse, 40(ish) minutes is the standard all albums are judged against around here. If you’re going to run long (or short), there better be a good justification and I don’t think Nazghor really have one besides writing a bazillion songs every year and never cutting any.

    • Malhorne

      The real problem is the listening fatigue.

  • Me

    I’m just not getting the corpse paint here. Are bands even trying to be creative with it anymore?
    Once again it looks like they slapped on some white powder and cracked an ink filled egg over their heads and just let it drip where ever…..sigh….

    • Piet

      Can’t we just agree that corpse paint is a little silly and dare I say it immature. Or am I stepping on some toes here?

      • Ami

        I think it can look alright, it just doesn’t go well with faux leather H&M jackets and fashionable haircuts

      • Me

        I like it when it’s done creatively. Carach Angel is a good example.

      • beurbs

        It’s silly as fuck, but Abbath pulls it off.

        • Rashona Baxa

          he wears war paint tho

    • Wilhelm

      I say keep it simple, symmetrical black lines – less is more. When you start blotting blood and going outside the lines, it just looks like someone’s bad zombie Halloween getup.

      • Me

        A lot of these groups look like corpse paint bukkake. Horrid.

      • Kurt Kapferer

        How can less be more? Thats impossible!!!

  • Kronos

    So… What is the infernal aphorism?

    • Sources say it is the logical next step in Nazghor‘s evolution: an exploration of their newfound abilities and a test of their endurance.

    • Dr. Wvrm

      That meloblack gets like a 3.89 avg on this site.

  • Planex

    Dissection was namedropped so I’ll listen to this.

    • Tobias Hasselwander

      I second that motion.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Is it just me or do they look like a Black Metal boy band?

    • basenjibrian

      They ARE cuter than the typical corpse-painted horde. LOL

    • Thatguy

      I was going to say much the same thing.

    • RuySan

      They probably got into metal one month ago and are waiting for their hair to grow. This was the best they could do.

    • sir_c

      Band members are Gore Bårlow, Roaring Blizzards, Havoc Dooms, Agent Orange and Marduk Øystein

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        No Joey? Isn’t there a law requiring that every boy band must have at least a Joey?

        • sir_c

          I don’t recall a Joey in Take That, which I used, but hey, I am not en expert in boy bands.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Take what?

  • Lou Daz

    I barely noticed how long this LP is because it’s so good. Very high-quality melo-black.

  • Gage

    Interested to see a review of Sounds from the Vortex, by The Spirit

  • Prostidude

    I bet some guy is going to mention the Fozzy score in this comment section

  • sir_c

    Guitar solos in a black metal album? That doesn’t happen often, but this album sounds pretty f-ing great. Great review and definitely an album on my list for 2017.

  • Patrick Bertlein

    I was expecting black metal.

    Oh what’s this? You think this IS black metal?! hahahahaha

    • Aguy

      What? It’s blackish!