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jools green
Jools Green

Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus

There's nothing that excites me more than hearing successive albums from a band and witnessing their sound develop, progress and perfect with each subsequent release and achieving this with the upmost rapidity is Helsinki/Philadelphia's ambient Black Metal outfit Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus.

Their 2013 debut full length, 'Synkkä Tuuli', was a good start and 2015s 'The Child Must Die' really started to grab the interest. Now leap forward just twelve months and the latest EP, 'Madness Incarnate' is on a whole new level.

Within the first minute of listening, this release utterly blew me away, noticing immediately the increased richness to the sound and production, the intense iciness of the atmosphere inspired as always by founder Mika Mage's Finnish heritage. The others were icy, but they were nothing compared to this and yet as a contrast there are some utterly sublime ambient segments which enthral with their dark melancholic beauty.

Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus have experimented and pushed the boundaries of the genre so much further this time and the confidence in their capabilities really shines out on this EP.

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For this release the line-up is trimmed down further to a solo endeavour of just founding member Mika Mage, a key factor in the success of this EP. Mika is a driven talent with strong ideas of just what he wants to achieve. Hhe also has the added bonus of an army of guest musicians including Manuel Rodriguez, this time covering just bass and Joffre Videz covering drums and both do a superb job. In addition to this there are also three guest vocalists and this adds even more variety and interest to this release.

The opening track features Garry Hadden (Lesch-Nyhan) on vocals and 'Traversing The Frozen North' begins on a soundscape of footsteps crunching through snow, then swathes of intense riffing and soaring roars envelop you sending an icy chill down your spine. Those riffs rise and fall as the vocals swirl like a cold wind.

On 'Madness Incarnate' the sublime intro gives no indication of the rich crushing riff that will engulf you next. The track boasts the vocal talents of former NB member Joel Robert Thompson and there's a strong Scandinavian Blackened feel to the guitar work and the subtle soaring symphonics in the second half add a haunting quality.

With James Dorton (BCI) covering vocals, 'Virgin Essence' is a little different from the other main tracks, less blackened with punchier riffs, demonstrating how having a good range of guests on an album can mix it up and make it all the more intriguing.

'Immaculate Deconception' again features Garry Hadden on vocals was also released as a single on Depressive Illusions Records. I love contrast between the blackened very Norwegian sounding riffs and the reflective, cleaner segments which hint at what will come to fruition in the final closing instrumental and the way they meld together with the help of a slight groove which serves as very neat stitching for the pieces. The vocals also become more deranged and distorted as this very complex track develops.

Never underestimate the closing instrumental, particularly 'Comte-Sponville'. This acoustic piece can stand alone in its own right and has a subtle retro progressive hint to it; a great way to end the EP.

'Madness Incarnate' is a limited edition pressing of 500 copies co-released on Symbol Of Domination Productions (a sub label of Satanath records)/Black Lion Productions but if you can’t get a copy, the album is also available from their bandcamp page as files.

'Madness Incarnate' is an utterly superb release and I can't recommend it highly enough so go spoil yourself and buy yourself a copy – you know you are "worth it" and this EP certainly is!

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