Nihilism and black metal are two philosophies that tend to go hand-in-hand. Nietzche’s writings serve as inspiration and often the basis of a number of black metal bands and songs, mostly split into two broad camps. On the one hand you have the quiet nihilist, who views the destruction of all around him with a placated acceptance, channeling the sense of despair into vast, empty soundscapes, much like Agalloch, Nortt and their ilk. The polar opposite is the nihilist who seeks to aid the destruction, the Nattefrosts and Impaled Nazarenes of the world; causing violence and mayhem with a distinctly anarcho-punk attitude wherever they are.
Nadiwrath‘s Nihilistic Stench opens with a venomous “Fuck you!” and immediately you know which end of the black metal/nihilism spectrum these Greeks are on. Visceral, hate-filled black metal bursts forth on the album, laden with ragged, crust punk energy. While Darkthrone have slowed down somewhat in their crust punk-metal era, Nadiwrath seem to be channeling the speed and aggression that feeds the genre and have come up with some pretty nasty songs.
The musicianship is tight for this style of black metal, swaying between blistering riffs and more laid back, traditional black metal passages quite effortlessly. The guitars (while quite thin) are competent and the surprisingly prominent bass does a good job of mixing up a few riffs. The drums are blistering and typically black metal styled with a punk rock edge, but the real heart and soul of the band has to be the vocalist, Wrath. His screams and screeches are laced with a particularly psychotic venom missing from a lot of modern black metal vocalists; while lots of screamers resort to the “blurp” (see my review of Iskald) in between verses, Wrath seems to prefer profanities. Lots of profanities. This is especially prevalent on the black metal opus, “Horns”, which closes with three minutes of people intermittently screaming “Fuck you!”
Musically, Nihilistic Stench is quite dull and walks a path already well trodden in by Impaled Nazarene, Nattefrost and friends. There is nothing new here, but then again, I don’t think they’re trying to reinvent the genre. Each song contains a handful of riffs and aside from some fiddly bass guitar, very little that sets them apart from one another. The punk energy is strong, completely devoid of solos or wank, and the black metal is Burzum and Mayhem paint-by-numbers. I will say that the aforementioned “Horns” and the album closer “Memories Are Dead” are decent tracks, and while not as catchy as the more upbeat cuts, are traditional black metal in the best sense of the word. They simply feel vast, empty and cold; drawing to mind Darkthrone‘s most hallowed releases.
Lyrically, it is quite apparent that Nadiwrath aren’t too concerned about being P.C. Track titles like “Two Face Shit Fuckers” and “Another Pimping Whore”, while comical and not about to win them any awards, show that the band isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to what they’re about. The other lyrical themes on the album are the usual black metal fare (darkness, violence, Satan, blah blah) proving there isn’t anything too complex going on in that department; but I suppose this style of metal isn’t trying to hit Tool levels of meaning. It doesn’t need to.
Nihilistic Stench is the soundtrack to a drunken street brawl – completely devoid of subtlety and nasty to the core. These guys are not your friends and they want you to know it. Originality, nuance and innovation be damned! Nadiwrath are here to get drunk, fuck you up, piss on your cat and set fire to your house. If you are a fan of crusty black metal, crustier punk or just very aggressive, violent music, these guys will be right up your alley!