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Death and the Black Work (2008)

Nightbringer is yet another below-average, trendy Black Metal band from the useless shores of America. For the most part, USBM is completely worthless, and these guys do nothing but add more truth to that statement. Rather than jumping on the depressive bandwagon, like so many of their countrymen, this band has gone for the pseudo-intellectual crowd that lurks in the underground. Everything about them reeks of posturing and going out of their way to impress people with how many occult books they've read and referenced in the lyrics. Like so many similar bands, these days, it is all image and no substance.

Released in 2008, Death and the Black Work is certainly one of the most boring releases that many of you will ever try sitting through. The only minor entertainment may come from counting the number of imitation Watain riffs, or simply laughing at the pathetic attempt at creating an occult atmosphere to match the image that the band so strongly tries to cultivate. Right away, you'll notice that the vocals are horrid. This guy relies way too much on a more guttural approach that has no place in this sort of music. It seems that, in one way or another, Americans cannot let go of their Death Metal roots, in a precedent set by Judas Iscariot long before. The songwriting is incredibly poor and under-developed. The guitar melodies are painfully boring and generic. Worst of all, they seem to go nowhere. There is this constant feeling as if the riffs are about to build up to something, but nothing ever happens. Apparently, even the drummer got bored with the lame riffs as, whether the pace is fast or slow, he is way too overactive in trying to compensate for the lack of interesting ideas. Nightbringer was too busy trying to fit in all of the trendy elements of modern 'cult' Black Metal that they forgot the one thing that mattered most, which is sincerity. This record does not possess one ounce of it. They've got the mixture of high and low vocals and the occasional Funeral Doom bits tossed in, with a very choreographed and inorganic feel to it all. This is truly the sound of a band trying way too hard, and coming up with absolutely nothing but random riffs that have about as little meaning as the faux-philosophical lyrics.

As for the production, the overall sound of the album is warm and muddy. This is not what you want in a Black Metal release. There is not one moment where it feels cold or dark, whatsoever. The mix is rather claustrophobic, with the percussion seeming to surround you and to block out the riffs, at times. This would be fairly detrimental to the album, if not for the fact that the riffs are pointless. The vocals are buried in the mix, to a degree, seeming to blend in with the guitars. With such a weak vocalist, they should have tried some studio trickery to make him sound somewhat better, but they opted to let him rot in a lame attempt at sounding more obscure and underground. Unfortunately, this all reeks of modernity, from the sound to the actual songwriting.

The band's bio claims that they have been together since 1999, yet Death and the Black Work gives off the impression that they had formed not long before recording this, after having listened to too many Watain and Deathspell Omega albums. This does not sound like the work of musicians with any real old school roots. There is no connection to the past, as this is completely derivative of their contemporaries, rather than showing any understanding of those who had come before. This only adds to the modern feeling that permeates every aspect of this recording. This is sure to appeal to the type of crowd that saves their lunch money to buy more Jewish occult texts, especially those whores that try to appear evil in an effort to impress their friends on the internet. Don't fall for the hype. If you want real Black Metal, don't go anywhere near this.
(22 Sept. 2012)

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