F U L L . R E V I E W S
This band came across my path and I did a little research...lo and behold I found out that they are from Philadelphia, PA right here in the U.S. of A. Their sophomore album, "The Child Must Die" has quickly launched itself to the top of my list for favorite album so far this year and what follows is an explanation why and what this band is doing right. "The Child Must Die" is an album that takes us back to a time when the windswept, icy fjords of Norway were not just a natural wonder but were constant backdrops for countless black metal album covers and band photos. The atmosphere on the album reminds you of being trapped in a swirling mist of ice and snow in a bleak, barren landscape that left you wondering where things began and ended.
Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus chose a much covered subject for this album--Finland's Kalevala. Those of you unfamiliar with the story go do some research about this story; it's an incredible read on its own. Put to music however, Nihilistinen find themselves in rare company as being one of the few bands that were truly able to capture the uplifting and epic story of the Kalevala without losing the black metal edge that adds that touch of darkness and sorrow to really make it feel epic in nature. The music on the album ranges from beautifully inspirational to reminiscences of a tower room that is constantly beaten and battered by icy winds and swirling snow. The music on this album is like a torturer's set of tools; it can bring you close to a state of euphoria or cause you excruciating pain in that the music really runs the gamut of evoked emotional responses. One minute you'll feel exhilarated as though you're flying through the air and the next you'll feel as though you are buried in the deepest, darkest pit with no hope and no expectation of survival.
I know it sounds odd to say that a black metal album will give you feelings of euphoria but one of the things that Barbaarisuus does so well is play with both the good and the evil side of the music if you will. There aren't many black metal bands out there playing this type of black metal anymore. Most of them have turned to Post Rock or some other variant of the genre. Yet Barbaarisuss thumb their noses at the suggestion that traditional black metal has lost its following and dare other bands to attempt to create something this bleak yet inspiring. After multiple listens to this album, I get a strong feeling that Emperor, Bathory and Enslaved were big inspirations to them. Yet what is even more impressive is that this band has their own sound that melds their influences with the epic, swirling sounds that they create to deliver an inspired dose of black metal at its finest.
A few of my fellow writers were talking about how they missed the "good old days" of black metal and how there weren't any bands that really kept that sound going or were able to successfully capture the feel of those bands from the early to mid-90's. Well, this album will renew your love for black metal and give you a warm feeling of nostalgia. Vocally, NB has that classic black metal shriek/bark that occasionally dips down to an almost death metal feel. Combine the music and the vocals with a very traditional mix that has a clear yet almost muddy sound to it and you have "The Child Must Die". The only drawback I can find with this album is that it is only 7 songs, which is unheard of in these days of 15-20 songs per album. The band gives you just what you need to leave you wanting more. But fear not, what you get is more than sufficient to satiate your frosty, dark desires.
How this band flew under my radar as well as the US Black Metal radar is beyond me. If this album doesn't get Nihilistinen Barbaarisuss some much deserved attention, then there is something truly wrong in our metal world brothers and sisters. Go out and get your copy of "The Child Must Die". Corpse paint, bullet belts and medieval weaponry are all optional to wear while listening. Just be ready to feel those familiar icy hands take hold of you and bring you in to the all too familiar and welcoming cold once again.
About this Writer:
Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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