THE GRIM TOWER REVIEWS: Nihilisten Barbaarisuus – The Child Must Die (2015)

Nihilisten Barbaarisuus – The Child Must Die (2015) – This second full-length from the Helsinki/Philadelphia project was sent to me by a very intriguing sort of musicians who must have loved the fact that I reviewed their previous Synkka Tuuli, regardless of the fact that I only offered it a mere 5/10. They also sent me a patch and an autographed picture along with the disc, which is something I’d never expect to receive for giving out a mediocre score. The back of the picture read “Stay Grim!” just in case you were wondering.

In any case, I immediately jumped into my search engine to find the old review and found that I said that “the drumming was bad, but the band was promising” in a nutshell. I also said, “I’m sure that they will get better over time.” Well, it is now time for me to put the money where my mouth is, regardless of all the cool swag I received and the awesome album art I’m looking at right now. Now I will say that the drumming has gotten a little better, even though it didn’t sound like it at first with opener “Wondrous Sampo 6:51.” The atmospheres were piled on high and thick, with familiar tremolo riff melodies and an ultimately symphonic, but still kvlt black metal feel.

The Child Must Die still feels raw, but it’s the kind of rawness that I think benefits this kind of material. It doesn’t feel like the quality really needed to be much glossier than it was and for the most part, the keyboard synths were quite clear in the mix. A mixture of harsh and grainy scowls that mix in with a few death growls make up the whole of the vocal end, and they seem to be heavily piled on. It’s a very minor thing however, as they work well with the synths and blast beats. As this record doesn’t seem to beat around the bush about its atmospheres and synths, you’ll just have to deal with them or find another act to sink your teeth into.

Oddly enough, the disc ends with a short and rather depressing soft number in “The Night She Died 1:54” which feels very much like an outro to the main meat of six songs that are featured on the album. The listener observes thirty minutes of black metal that musically sounds like that of Hecate Enthroned or early Cradle Of Filth with a more tolerable vocal approach (except that I’m a huge fan of Dani’s work) and leans more toward black metal, than to either act’s later leanings. You may also in part be reminded of Summoning in lieu of the synths, which are gorgeously well done.

All in all, I don’t believe this is the moment where I’ve put my foot into my mouth and I would certainly consider The Child Must Die an obvious step up from the band’s previous effort. It still could use some fine-tuning in areas, but it feels like it’s going to take off into something even greater. I’m going to keep my eye on these guys, as I still believe there’s some promise to seen here and perhaps in the coming years we will finally see that ashen flower bloom.

This might sit more with Dimmu Borgir back in the For All Tid or original Stormblast era, rather than the newer crisper stuff, but whichever way Nihilstinen Barbaarisuus decide to go I’ll definitely show my full support of. On the strength of this recording, I’ll have to recommend it to those who prefer a raw and traditional approach to their symphonic black metal.

(7 Tracks, 33:00)


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