Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk about you again. Try though I did to abandon my pursuits ov the fabled black dragon, there is only so much one can do to wrest themselves from the hands of their own addictions. There is also only so much one can do when the Madam herself slams the needle directly into your feeble, velvety arm and says “you’re going for a ride, ready or not!” Addiction is an ugly, fearsome thing, and so are Greece’s Nigredo. Their full-length debut, Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced, gave not one fuck for my fear of the dark, so settle in, enjoy of deep contact high and let’s see if this was worth falling off the wagon over.
Opener “Ten Repellant Antiforces” sees the dry tonal bones of early Dimmu Borgir given dark new life by necromantic Slayer rhythm riff sorcery and makes one thing crystal clear (with an obsidian sheen, ov course): it’s all about the riffs, yo. Atmofiends will need to look elsewhere for any hint of a melodic fix, meanwhile, the adrenaline junkies of the hall are almost certain to get hooked on A.’s six-stringed riffocopia. Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced burns in a manner somewhat reminiscent of Burial Oath, reveling in riffs that are as black as they come whilst being catchy enough to bang your head to. You will bang your head, too, when tracks like “Choronzon Possession” and “Saturnian Death Cult” get into your system. From start to finish, Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced is a blackened haze of activity, an eight-track trip to the dark side of the riff.
As is consistently the case among the chaos cartel that is Transcending Obscurity’s roster, this particular bit of aural debauchery is not so much a sonic peace pipe as it is an angry metal speedball laced with PCP and caffeine slammed straight into the heart. Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced is a balls to the wall affair, blissfully blackened death metal in the vein ov Behemoth uttering Incantations hammered along at breakneck speeds by Maelstrom’s spasmodic storm of sticks n’ skins with zero seconds allotted for catching one’s breath. Indeed, “Sons of Worthlessness” writhes and thrashes its way through a fiery void housing the spirits of Ulcerate, Dimmu, and even ghostly whispers of early (read: good) Metallica. All the while, A. shrieks and screeches Satan into sonic existence with a set of scream-tubes similar to Shagrath stretching for Nergal stars, and every second of this obsidian orgy is as evil as it is enjoyable.
This album certainly sent me straight to cloud 666, but as with all good relapses, it comes with a complimentary side of regret, and in the afterglow, I noticed a few things that keep Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced just shy of Heisenberg-ing the game. Nigredo‘s bay area Behemoth-sound is sure to become instantly recognizable, but here in the developmental stage, “Ten Repellant Antiforces” and “Raging Tides of Time” are a little too similar in sound to strongly stand out from each other. The bass presence on the album is also pretty much metaphorical as far as the mix goes, which is a shame but also somewhat par for the course. That said, the 37-minute run time fits the flow and energy of Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced quite well, allowing the ride to romp and rage without inducing an overdose, all-in-all it’s difficult to find fault with so much character and energy. A little refining of the songwriting skills will serve these guys well down the road, but even in their fledgling state Nigredo have created something with the potential to turn Greece into the Colombia of blackened death.
Madam X is a terrible role model, but a wise and wonderful overlord. Whether you’re a riff addict, a blackness binger or just a death fiend in general, Nigredo are a band you’re going to want to get hooked on. This is the kind of evil riffy shit to blast during “do you have a minute to talk about” home invasions, and you can never have too much of that. Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced is an excellent debut with a blackened assload of potential. May the withdrawal period be brief and the shakes manageable.