Nihility, Beyond Human Concepts (Vicious Instinct Records 2022)

Portugal’s Nihility bring forth their second self-defining work with Beyond Human Concepts.

From Porto, Nihility is a death/black metal band comprised of four musicians: Mário Ferreira (vocals), Renato Barbosa (guitar, vocals), Miguel Seewald (bass), and Luís Moreira (drums). Having released the impressive Thus Spoke The Antichrist in 2019, the follow-up Beyond Human Concepts walks us further down their path.

From the opening notes of the first song on the album, “Martyrdom For The Herd,” the dramatic and intensely compelling guitar riffs turn your head. It’s like riding in a hotrod on a winding road in the Carpathian Mountains. When the pace curls down for a moment, an insistent bass line won’t let you go, and the next breach is a shattering pace and a rallying lead break. It is worth buying this album on the strength of the opening song alone.

The style is a sort of blackened death metal. The vocalizations are often dualized with a death/black pairing. I am hearing that more and more these days, but rarely do I find it as effectively deployed is it is with Nihility – it is not overdone, and is instead used as a complement and for emphasis. When this approach is combined with the fascinating guitar choices and the driving rhythm the result is startling and memorable.

Along with the opening track, the other top plays for me are “Human Stupidity,” the charging “Conflicting Vanities,” and the astonishing title track. I have been listening to this album all day and I am not finished with it yet. The music just keeps getting better with every spin. Nihility has made my list of bands I must see live. Highly recommended.

Beyond Human Concepts is out on Friday, January 7th through Vicious Instinct Records. In the US, Bandcamp is the place to go.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://nihilityofficial.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-human-concepts

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/nihility.pt

Vicious Instinct Records, https://www.viciousinstinctrecords.com/

Nihility, Beyond Human Concepts (Vicious Instinct Records 2022)

Madmess, Rebirth (Hassle Records 2021)

The debut album from Portugal’s Madmess is an ambitious sashay in the psychedelic universe.

Madmess is from Portugal, and they are currently stationed in the United Kingdom. Plying their trade in the crowded psych-rock scene, the band – Ricardo Sampaio (guitar), Luis Moura (drums), and Vasco Vasconcelos (bass) – stomp a heavy groove. It is a weighty sound with a treble edge and plenty of fuzz. They released Madmess in 2019, a long EP. Rebirth is the band’s first full-length album.

There are five long tracks on Rebirth. The echoing “Stargazer” breaks the frozen surroundings with its glow and has the feel of intergalactic exploration. Forceful rhythm allows for sharp lead guitar attacks. The lead break toward the end is particularly raucous and benefits from exploiting two aligned yet independent tracks. The title song starts out quieter but doesn’t stay that way for long. In fact, they drop a riff so heavy that it would feel comfortable in a doom scene. The guitar sparkles in the gloom and brightens the track immeasurably.

“Albatross” has a mournful ply. It is not as sad as Zappa’s “Watermelon in Easter Hay” but it made me think of that song for some reason even though it doesn’t sound like it at all. The music throughout is essentially instrumental in that vocals are not a large part of any track and this song is the set stone of that ideal. “Shape Shifter” is comfortable rollick with languid, easy-on-the-ears guitar work.

“Mind Collapse” made my think of a long drive on a lonely highway at dusk, just a person alone with their thoughts as they wander and focus and move around to this and that. This one might be my favorite of the bunch but I have to say all five songs resonated with me. I hope Madmess head over to the US in 2022 because this is a band I am aching to see perform live. Highly recommended.

Rebirth is out Friday, December 10th, through Hassle Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://madmess.bandcamp.com/album/rebirth

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/madmessband

Hassle Records, https://store.hasslerecords.com/

Madmess, Rebirth (Hassle Records 2021)

Miss Lava, Doom Machine (Small Stone Records 2021)

Lisbon psychedelic rockers Miss Lava release their first full-length album in five years, Doom Machine.

Miss Lava has been lighting up stages in Portugal and across Europe for almost fifteen years. They play a feisty blend of heavy psychedelic rock with broad appeal and crossover atomism. The new one is their fourth LP, and they have released a couple of EPs as well. The band is: Johnny Lee (vocals), J. Garcia (drums), K. Raffah (guitar), and Ricardo Ferreira (bass, vocals).

Doom Machine has twelve tracks with eight primaries connected by brief interstitial elements. There are also three bonus tracks on the CD and digital versions. The opener is the rousing “Fourth Dimension” that lays down a super fuzzy high energy riff supported by pelting percussion. It has a catchy pop sensibility that labels this one a single for sure. “The Mire” follows and has a more solemn, mystical feel to it and psychedelic desert flavors. “Magma” is a tantalizing bridge guitar bit leading to the second movement of three songs, each working a different angle and conveying an alternate perspective.

The second set of six tracks have a somewhat different feel to my ears, more exploratory with a deeper kind of emotional venting. I am especially drawn to “The Fall” and the title track for these reasons, with the latter going full-on spaced-out at its end, warping the set into infinity. The bonus tracks are great, too – not leftovers or throwaways, they are up-tempo and surging songs that exist in their own space and at the same time enhance the album as a vital part of the whole. Recommended.

The CD and digital versions of Doom Machine come from Small Stone Records and there is vinyl at Kozmik Artifactz.

Band photo by José Dinis.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/doom-machine

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MissLavaOfficial

Small Stone Records, https://smallstone.com/artist/miss-lava/

Kozmic Artifactz, http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/

Miss Lava, Doom Machine (Small Stone Records 2021)

Torn Fabriks, Mind Consumption (Firecum Records 2021)

Thrash trio Torn Fabriks breaks through with a fresh EP clocking music for mass consumption.

From Lisbon, Portugal, the band is Jorge Matos (guitar), Ricardo Santos (bass, vocals), and Paulo Soares (drums). They appear to have sprung out of the ether, coming together from the bands Sindicato da Terra, Morbid Death, and Rageful. They play a familiar brand of traditional thrash, in many ways on the edge of what we used to call speed metal. Fast and straight-forward, it is music for the masses.

The EP has six songs and it runs a bit over twenty minutes. There is noticeable filler throughout but there are also healthy portions of tasty shreds which are worth the wait. You can hear social and political commentary in the lyrics, but the bigger draw is the catchy music and that is what fans will be drawn to and remember, I think.

Mind Consumption is out now. The record label has a CD version, and there are a few single tracks available at Bandcamp – the entire EP will probably be up there soon. It is worth a little bit of searching.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://tornfabriks.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/TornFabriks/

Firecum Records, https://www.firecum.com/product-page/cum-039-torn-fabriks-torn-fabriks-cd

Torn Fabriks, Mind Consumption (Firecum Records 2021)

Kneel, Ailment review (Raging Planet 2020)

Kneel has released a new album after many years of reckoning and introspection. At least, that is what Ailment seems like.

Kneel is Pedro Mau, with vocals by Filipe Correia. Mau handles all the other instruments and composition. The earlier album from Kneel is 2013’s Interstice, and the new one follows a similar Hardcore / Mathcore tranche. The music is a settled, punishing groove that keeps jumping the tracks.

Each song has a single word for a title which encapsulates the idea or feeling or story. Even more precisely (and generally) than that, Pedro Mau comments on the album, in part, this way: “The accumulation of small problems in our lives can lead us, sooner or later, to situations that can get out of our control.” Some of the songs build this into their own microcosm, and you can also see it as an arc throughout the entire set. It is a long run arc in the sense that your anxiety mounts the longer you listen – the only door you can see rattles on it hinges but instead of flying open to allow for escape it is fusing shut a little more with each passing song.

The halfway point, “Raptorial,” is so harsh and upsetting you start wondering if this is the mental equivalent of a cardiac stress test. But that is the hump, and once over it you have become one of the inhabitants of the world. By the time you get to the closer, “Acuity,” you are unshaken by the rage of the tortuous waves. It is no longer a cacophony. It starts to seem merely like the truth. In a fascinating way, it is the exact opposite of the quotation above – instead of the music spinning out of control, it has become more understandable.

Available now from Raging Planet (Portugal) and Planet K Records (Italy), conveniently sourced through Bandcamp, Ailment will not make you feel better, but it might help you get on with it.

Links.

Kneel Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/seekinsideyourself

Kneel Bandcamp, https://kneel.bandcamp.com/

Raging Planet, http://www.ragingplanet.pt

Planet K Records, https://planetkrecords.bandcamp.com/

Kneel, Ailment review (Raging Planet 2020)