Nihility – Beyond Human Concepts Review

Well, well, well, if it isn’t the first review of 2022. Somehow it still feels like 2020, and, pun intended, that’s retrospect. It was a weird-ass year, so I’m ready to kick back into normalcy with a bang. Desperately hoping that this year will not be “2020 Pt. III,” we can only work on ourselves and how we react to our circumstances and change things, and what better to assist your New Year’s resolutions than the punishment of a tasty death metal album? Is Beyond Human Concepts a lean, mean, and green good for your newfound diet?

Nihility may sound familiar for a death metal band, but that’s because there’s a lot of them.1 This particular Nihility is a blackened death metal quartet from Portugal, having released a debut in 2019 Thus Spoke the Antichrist, which my esteemed colleague Mark Z. praised as promising and uniquely brutal, but noted as having forgettable tracks and somewhat lackluster production. With nods to Behemoth, Belphegor, and Man Must Die, it’s brutal death with a healthy injection of black. While much the same in brutal roars, wild percussion, and head-bobbing riffs to boot, successor Beyond Human Concepts is an infectiously heavy and just plain fun sophomore effort with a crisper production and emphasis on the riff.

There is little subtle about Beyond Human Concepts. A title that perhaps suggests some Lovecraftian shenanigans running slitheringly amok, Nihility is more than content bashing your skull quickly and calling it a day. Tracks like “Hubris” and “Conflicting Vanities” are ceaseless bangers of head-bobbing heaviness, as minor melodies swarm the ears, solos blast,2 and riffs pummel. Tasteful blackened elements in blastbeats and overlays of tremolo grace tracks like “Human Stupidity,” “Will to Power,” and “The Religious Dogma,” giving further power to anti-religious themes, layering a grim atmosphere to an already pummeling palette. Ominous plucking and spoken word grace passages of the title track and closing instrumental “Sea of Thoughts” with a dark atmosphere, while Wormed-esque slam infuses segments of “Destroy the Shackles of Prejudice” with doom heft. While the production was a niggling issue in Thus Spoke the Antichrist, itss crisper and cleaner this time around, giving Beyond Human Concepts greater mobility as it hits you hard and refuses to let up. Furthermore, with the longest track clocking in at just over four-and-a-half minutes and the album at just over a half-hour, it’s a platter that never overstays its welcome.

Beyond Human Concepts is a fun album, but that’s about it. Riffs are catchy and crushing without being terribly dense, but there’s little that sticks in the long run, because to some extent, Nihility plays it too safe. Nearly every track is solid, with the exception of a few passages or jarring transitions, but there is little distinguishing them. Each song features catchy riffs, solos, and growls, but only “Conflicting Vanities” and the title track are memorable, thanks to their fantastic songwriting and dynamic interpretations of blackened death. Simply put, Nihility’s greatest sin is that they don’t explore the more experimental aspects of their sound, opting instead for a meat-and-potatoes take on the style. This is by no means bad, but it hurts their memorability in the long term. A couple of small eye-roll moments may hit listeners differently, such as the dramatic pause of “there is no life without… DEATH” in “Martyrdom for the Herd” or the abrupt tonal shift in “Hubris,” but these are nitpicks at best.

Ultimately, while there’s little to write home about with Beyond Human Concepts, there’s enough wild and crazy fun to be had in Nihility’s little riff-fest for a good few spins. It’s fast and heavy with enough tasteful blackened elements to keep things fresh, even if it stays safely in its lane like a Belphegor shirt-wearing grandmother doing 24 in a 25. There’s something distinctly refreshing about Nihility’s straightforwardness: no frills or flourishes, just solid blasting blackened death. Beyond Human Concepts is not a life- or game-changing album, but it doesn’t pretend to be. If you’re looking for a lean, mean, green death metal machine for your new diet, you’ve come to the right place – just don’t expect it to suffice all year.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Vicious Instinct Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: January 8th, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. The Decapitated influence is strong.
  2. The bass solo in the title track slaps.
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