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Hard to classify, but awesome - 80%

Daemonlord, July 12th, 2011

Well, even after a few listens, this little baby had me well and truly fucked when trying to decide on the genre, forcing me to opt for the big, fat, comfortable 'unclassifiable' option. Hailing from Austria, Philip Santoll is the brains behind Nonexistence, and if his influences are anything like the music he plays here, he's got a cubic light year of albums from multiple metal genres to pick through every time head heads to stick on an album.

Somehow, and rather impressively I might add, 'Nihil' manages to mix the eclectic verve of Arcturus and Solefald without getting too 'out there', with the grass rooted symphonic black metal of early Emperor, whilst managing to mix in a few up tempo eastern styled death metal riffs and epic doomy arrangements of early Katatonia and Paradise Lost. And if you can imagine that being played in outer space, you're getting close to how this album sounds. Quite a fucked up mix eh? The surprising thing is, is that it actually works, and if there's one thing that definitely goes in Nonexistence's favor, it's that there's no way these guys could be mixed up for any of the aforementioned bands. Philip himself describes his music as 'Cosmic Doom Black Metal', and although I hate to say so (made up genres are generally cretinous in my opinion) that's as close an estimation as you'll get when summing the music up in less than five words. The guy even has a varied vocal style, ranging from a throaty black metal rasp, to a Karl Sanders-like roar, to a clean chorus-soaked croon, all interchanging dependant on which riff they happen to be soaring over. The best thing for me, is the great 'all-encompassing' feeling surrounding the whole album, which I guess is where the whole 'cosmic' part comes into play, with synthesizers draping softly over the riffwork like a shroud, adding a darker feeling to the majority of the songs.

For a one man project, this is pretty impressive stuff and I for one would be interested to hear what the guy can come up with next. Well worth checking out for those who can appreciate talented musicianship without being hindered by the boundaries of genres in their metal.

Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com