Nameless Void – Nameless Void Review

In case you haven’t already noticed, I revel in closing my eyes and permitting music to transport me to another world when listening to an album for the first time. At the outset of Nameless Void’s debut release, I was carted away on a desolate journey. I found myself seated in a narrow vessel moving through serene ice-covered waters. Each time I dipped the paddle clutched in my hands into the mirror-like water, the surface splintered to reveal crystalline patterns and sent tiny shards of ice into the darkness below. All I could see past the snow-covered riverbanks was an endless barren landscape. The music took a vicious turn, and I paddled increasingly faster. Celestial bells materialized out of nowhere, and I found myself no longer paddling through frozen water but through a planetary nebula. Throughout the course of the remainder of the EP, I, along with my vessel, steadily melted away into the ether.

With a name and origin as mysterious as the chilling introduction of their eponymous debut EP, Nameless Void is the astral black metal duo of SN (music) and RM (vocals). Based on their description, Nameless Void draws similarities to noise/dark ambient black metal bands like Gnaw their Tongues and the terror noise-metal of Vessel of Iniquity. While there’s no shortage of unfailing harshness on Nameless Void, I found the beginning of opening track “Where Stars Forever Die” eerily similar to the disconcertingly icy first track of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s haunting soundtrack for Gone Girl. The standout performance throughout the album is SN’s mastery of bone-chilling atmospherics which serve as foreshadowing for the impending cacophony to come. Cool synths give way to barely discernible caustic vocals and blast beats galore. Middle track “Black Wormhole” is a vocal-less drone piece – the eye of the storm. My first play through of this album was during a flight returning home, and funnily enough, this track blended in seamlessly with the sounds of the airplane engine during take-off. Final track “The Flash” is simply a repeat of the first with more vicious tremolo picking, dark synths, and frenzied blast beats.

I’m a fan of what Nameless Void is attempting to achieve on their debut album. I recently came across the latest album by self-described German dungeon synth band Isegrimm so my already high tolerance for cheesy 80s synths and austere atmospherics is even higher than usual. After a brief Google search, I discovered that there is an entire scene devoted to this micro-genre. Thus, there is no shortage of people (even outside the world of metal) who would appreciate Nameless Void’s mixture of drone, black metal, and foreboding atmospheres, all ingredients of dungeon synth.

Unfortunately, Nameless Void has several deal breakers that cannot be overlooked. The half-hour run-time is too short for the EP to make enough of an impact on the listener given the chosen style of drone-laden black metal. The mixing and production sound unintentionally DIY, and the vocals pervading the two tracks bookending the album are so reverb-soaked they detract from the experience.

While Nameless Void deserve a bit of leeway since this EP is their first ever release, a band producing material even remotely reminiscent of the celestial-themed dark ambient black metal of Wolves in the Throne Room cannot do so without an absurd degree of masochism. For many, listening to Wolves is a highly spiritual experience. By releasing Nameless Void, this enigmatic duo put their heads on the chopping block. Nameless Void lacks the bombast, polish, and regality necessary in order to live up to the through the roof expectations for music in this vein. Though I won’t be coming back to Nameless Void’s first release anytime soon, I stand hopeful for what they can create with more studio time and targeted refinement.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Grey Matter Productions | Xenoglossy Productions
Releases Worldwide: May 31, 2019

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