Nocturnal Hollow – Triumphantly Evil Review

The classic Swedeath sound, as pioneered by Entombed and Dismember, has drawn way more flies than honey with its buzzing, hacksaw style over the last 30-plus years. In that time the genre has been well and fully beaten into the very core of the Earth, with countless bands trying their hand at the greasy till. For all the oversaturation this niche has endured, it still remains a highly engaging style when done well, as recent releases by LIK and Helslave can attest. Venezuela’s Nocturnal Hollow have been in this game since 2011 and Triumphantly Evil is their sixth full-length of unabashed Swedeath worship, though I concede I’d never heard of them until we got this promo. What you get on Triumphantly Evil is stock standard for the style, which may sound like a criticism, but it’s not intended that way at all. At this point you either need more of this specific sound in your ears or you don’t. I myself do need more, so I’m ready to sample all the stock and standard wares sent my way while hoping to uncover another deathy gem.

Without much preamble, asses get kicked on opener “Baphomet Crown,” which is straight from casting, no frills Swedeath with enough nastiness and impact to keep you onboard. The guitars buzz and groan like a maggot-infested demon bear and the unholy fracas is joined by impressive death roars. It’s aggressive, heavy and you’ve heard it a million times, yet it still works thanks to riffs that impress throughout. The band hits cruising speed on “Bound to the Gore” where the music finds that rancid garden spot where Swedeath grows extra tendrils and ravenous maws. It’s upbeat with a great chorus and you can’t help but get your blood stirred up by the high octane assault. The riffs are righteous and the voKILLS do actually kill. Sadly, as good as the first 2 minutes are, the song meanders a bit on the back end, robbing it of greater impact.

From there the material bounces from good to decent but non-exceptional, with winners like “Through the Haze of Death” and “Consumed by the Storm” supplying all the killing power most require with the genre’s well worn tools, while somewhat lesser versions like “Down to Void” do the job without really knocking your socks off or sticking in the cranium. Instrumental piece “Voices Comes from the Night” is respectable but rather long-winded, and the songs on the back half are somewhat weaker than those at the front. The 38 minute runtime salvages things a bit, making the entire package go down pretty smoothly, and the sound and mix is surprisingly good without being too clean and polished.

Nocturnal Hollow operate as a duo, with Jose Rafael Escalante handling guitar and vocals. I enjoy his ragged death croaks and he’s an above average riff constructor, giving the listener plenty of leads that slash, bludgeon and drill into bone and marrow. He even drops some mammoth Bolt Thrower chugs here and there to further grind your war gears. George Knive mans the kit and also does a solid job. The twosome is certainly talented enough, with the main shortcomings coming in the songcraft department. The inconsistent writing holds the enterprise back from that next level of brutal fun. The best cuts show the potential is there though.

Triumphantly Evil is a solid dose of Swedeath with a few above average bangers, but it lacks the snap crackle and bone pop that the best modern purveyors deliver. I want to give it a higher rating, but it’s pretty safe and yes, stock standard. Fans of the style will get some mileage, though it will vary according to standards and expectations. I don’t normally do this kind of thing, but I’d recommend checking out their prior album, A Whisper of a Horrendous Soul instead. It’s a total smokeshow of aggressive, in your face Swedeath and tons of raucous graveyard fun. It turns out THAT is the deathy gem I was hunting for. I just wish this one was on par. Entirely decent but not essential.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Release
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: July 2nd, 2021

« »