Fiat Nox – Demanifestation (Hymns of Destruction and Nothingness) Review

Rules are meant to be broken. I used to think, for example, that all releases were required to be released on Tuesdays, and that debut albums were always supposed to be self-titled. I was but a wee lad, and the music world is actually pure fucking chaos – and metalverse is even more insane. The same disorder applies with EP’s, but the questions remain unanswered: what’s the shortest a full-length can be? What’s the longest an EP can be? The world may never know, because a thirty-minute deathcore release is too bloated, but a thirty-minute black metal release is an EP. What can I say? The world is truly a mystery.

Fiat Nox is a German black metal quartet, having released one full-length, a demo, and an EP. Second “EP” Demanifestation (Hymns of Destruction and Nothingness) offers thirty minutes of second-wave shenanigans, citing acts like Dissection, Mgła, and Svartidauði as influences. While black metal influences pretty much end up being the umpteenth reiteration of Transilvanian Hunger, some nicely melodic touches grace Demanifestation as well as a take-no-prisoners attitude. Ultimately, it does not reinvent the wheel nor convince the naysayers that black metal is back on the menu, and suffers from inconsistency throughout, but it does just enough in its limited runtime to justify a spin or two.

To be completely fair, most of Demanifestation sounds like its cover looks. Blood-red skies stretch above, while ancient stones crown the horizon suffocating the light. Balancing atmospheric passages of minor and dissonant plucking with blasting in-your-face tremolo and pummeling drums, if it’s blackened fury you’re after, you’ll find it heartily aboard Fiat Nox. Opener “The Enshrouded Gateway” showcases a stunning marriage of its influences with a rock-solid central melody that touches on Dissection, subtle overtones that suggest Mgła, while its obscurity suggests Svartidauði‘s obsidian density. The closing title track revels further in hypnotic rhythms and reverb-laden melodies, recalling the liturgical madness of Ancient Moon‘s Benedictus Diabolica. While inconsistent, Demanifestation is a bit of a sample platter of Fiat Nox‘s abilities in a relatively brief runtime, providing blasting black metal with a foot firmly planted in the obscure.

That being said, not everything on this appetizer is worth another bite. Central track “Cosmos into Chaos” is the best example of this, as its open semi-dissonant strumming overpowers everything else. This would not necessarily be a bad thing if the songwriting were better, but Fiat Nox‘s approach cannot recover, as it remains in droning limbo for too long, ending up being a frankly boring addition to an otherwise promising EP/LP. Furthermore, while Fiat Nox‘s drum and guitar tone add a vicious edge to Demanifestation, the duel shrieks and growls are too loud in the mix. Finally, there is little connecting the three tracks, that while “The Enshrouded Gateway” dwells neatly among its influences, “Cosmos into Chaos” is far too muddy and droning with a sudden growl dominance, and the abrupt appearance of melodic black, complete with wailing solos and nearly melodeath plucking, in the title track is jarring.

Thanks to its shorter runtime, Demanifestation is a digestible platter of tasteful black metal. It gives an idea of its delicious elements but doesn’t dwell too heavily on them, even if these assets are about as put-together as a food fight. Two tracks are loaded with promise, the third bogged down by lackluster writing and bad mixing, but very little connects them in a way that accurately represents the ominously beautiful album art. Most notably, there’s nothing that Fiat Nox does that other blackened adherents have done better – such as its own influences. In the end, Demanifestation‘s biggest attraction is its brevity, and I’m not sure an album’s quality should be based on how little there is.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Crawling Chaos Records
Websites: lightthetorches.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/lightthetorches
Releases Worldwide: 
January 22nd, 2022

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