1.) Artifice Of Meaning. 4:53
2.) Wounds Upon a Frigid Landscape.
3.) Simulacra (Interlude) 1:24
4.) The Symbols Fall Away 7:53
5.) Woodcutter 3:25
6.) A Candle Ends 5:07
7.) Fraxinus Noctis (Bonus Track) 5:22
Being a writer or even someone who reviews music can be nothing short of a journey. The ability to either procrastinate or get writers block is all too familiar. However when something hits you and gives you that compelling feeling you must write about it, then literally you need to take that and run with it. So here on my ever growing quest for new music and artists, that I feel need more said about them and their releases.
I stumbled upon Nietzu. Now I may be late to the party on this act and the entity behind it but there is something about this act that is totally and utterly mesmerising and I don’t use this term lightly. The act itself had been around since 2019 which in all essence isn’t really long, since we’re in 2022 but to cast my cold dead eyes back over the amount of releases under the entities belt you’d be mistaken for thinking they’d been around for years. So has their been much progression between releases within this short amount of time? Well as we dive in we wade through the gritty, filthy landscape of layers to this one man act that holds more than meets the eye.
Described as Atmospheric/ post – black metal is nothing short of an injustice to this acts multiple layers of sound they manage to capture upon every release and this offering “Monarch Of Sorrow” is nothing short of more than what the aforementioned description implies.
Starting with some serious industrial sounding samples track one “Artifice Of Meaning” doesn’t beat around the proverbial bush. It literally rips through you like freshly sharpened Scythe. Thick heavy riffs layered well and production as crystal clear as nothing I’ve heard before. This literally has later Gorgoroth inspiration all over it, but not in a bad way. The riff and pummelling beats really take you to the track “Wound Upon Wound” taken from the album Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam which is a heavy favourite album of mine.
Those choppy riffs and galloping drum beats just literally pummel you to death, even the vocal ability is definitely Gaahl inspired on this track its great homage at its best. As the second verse drops in were treated to a great little breakdown before were thrown right back into the mire. Then as the sky cracks open wide the clean vocals come through. These tacking on the style of Gregorian monk chants in the back ground providing the only light across this dark and cold track. The song takes another turn in verse three as the vocals turn to whispers and other spoken word parts layered on top. As the closing of the track enshrouds you in its thunderous opening style you are left stopped in motion of what you have witnessed and heard.
Track 2.) “Wounds Upon a Frigid Landscape” opens with the sound of winds whipping around you with the same thick riffs and some fantastic Synth work. It is here we see the dynamic change of the track writing and arranging. Some brilliant jazz infused beats and bass playing choosing a very off beat timing, very reminiscent of Messuggah or even the nu – metal act Deftones who were renowned for playing off beat jazz percussion within their works. However it’s the vocals that give it that black metal edge. So powerful and cutting like the winds in the opening of the track.
This hits just as hard as the opener on all levels. The break down on this track is fantastic giving that little sort of Death Metal nod and it is brutal to match. The use of synth throughout and the little peaks in the clean vocals give it even a dungeon sounding vibe. Once again much like the act “Devouring Famine” all elements on the tracks are well thought out and structurally placed to make one killer track after another.
Track 3) “Simulacra” (Interlude) a noun taken from the word Simulacrum meaning an image of someone or something is indeed just that. Once again using both soundscape and an absolutely incredible ambient backing piece gives you the feeling your stood on the precipice looking over a stark and bleak land ravaged by time and the human race. This track is nothing short of amazing providing a great division between the heavy and the more serene parts. This all leads into track 4.) “The Symbols Fall Away” Which opens with a beautiful piano intro, before the darkness of the first verse envelops you in all its glory.
This is a much slower and more doom ridden track, the riffs are very heavy and the drums shift between little blast beat moments to that of a slow and sombre pace. With a mix of spoken word parts to the harrowing screams just makes this a ferocious piece in its own right. The synth parts cast what little light elements they can and used within this way they create for a great addition to this already darkened atmosphere definitely the longest track upon the album but with so many changes it just draws you in.
Track 5.) “Woodcutter” opens with the sound of a blade slicing through you. A almost battle heavy track this ferocious dungeon esque sounding piece has that blasting opening up and until the second verse where we are treated to some synth with stunning effects on top to remove it from that stereotypical dungeon synth sound. This is what I mean when the band are listed as just Atmospheric/ Post B.M. yes they’re are definitely elements of that but there is so much more that encompasses each and every track.
Track 6.) “A Candle Ends” brings back in that Meshuggah style groove to it, capturing a similar opening to that of the track “Lethagica” taken from their Obzen album. This track holds that similar drum and bass intro, before it throws you right down into the darkest depths of hell. The track shifts and changes between slow and brutal death metal to that of pure black metal hatred. Honestly this track is beyond punishing and when the clean vocals hit it is up to them to provide the light on this thick and all consuming piece. Stunning and brutal riffs lift and throw you around like a rag doll as you are dragged kicking and screaming to the place your body will burn and perish.
Track 7.) “Fraxinus Noctis” translates as Ashes Of Night, which is fitting as the sound of both rain and fire crackling can be heard on the opening, coupled with a haunting ambient track behind it. A little sort of dance like element is quickly brought in with the beat too, which can be seen as such a false sense of security as the track rushes in with a punk like opening riff to it. This is also the first glimpse of the album having the usual tremolo picked riff we hear so much within black metal, coupled with clean vocals this brings a whole new feeling to this style of riff. One where it almost brings a clearer focus on what tones this riff really holds.
The mix of the fast choppy punk riffs continue through with a quick breakdown midway through, before returning to that faster paced style. Towards the end we are treated once again to the cleaner vocals making your body sore into the air not before the venomous, demonic, rasping vocals come back tearing your soul from your body and dragging you back to where you belong.
In all I cannot say enough good things about this band in general. Once again it’s another band that’s surrounded in mystery the main man having no name and the information surrounding them and where in the U.K. he Hails from are all illusive as for information. Is this though what has drawn me to this act much the same as “Ogof” and “Crymych” the mystery behind them and their band or more to the point their ability to push that boundary within B.M. just that little bit further than other acts can.
Either way it’s clear to see that the U.K. can hold their own within this genre and we have nothing to prove, we allow the ferocity and the darkness of our music do the talking and rest assured I feel that’s what stands us apart from the Flock like mentality of some acts that don’t chose to push their limits within their sound and knowledge of the genre. In essence all can be encompassed within this genre, they’re is no limits this is black metal at the end of the day how you chose to portray and convey your sound is only what limits you.
The bar has be raised here clearly and the chances of others clearing it will be a challenge. Monarch Of Sorrow encompasses everything you need on a B.M album and more so pay close attention and dive deeper into Nietzu you will not be disappointed.
Hails #Foras #LordOfThe Shadows.