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Naming your band 'Nunfuckritual' is a choice only the most devout of black metal acts would ever consider given the sheer comic ludicrousness of it, but that is exactly the proposition we have on their debut album "In Bondage of the Serpent". The major point of note regarding the band is it's combination of scene veterans, headed by one Dan Lilker (of so many acts it's hard to note but how about Brutal Truth, S.O.D. and Nuclear Assault?); so a new act they might be but a wealth of experience lies behind it's composition. This is a fact easily borne in listening to the 45-minute six track debut; I had been expecting an artillery barrage of Marduk or Belphegor proportions but instead found the speed to be wholly inverted and of close proximity to Beherit or Burzum. This is not to say no young bands similarly emit the foul stench of those two legendary acts, but it is rare a BM act manages to resist pressing the accelerator the entire way through a release as, for better or for worse, Nunfuckritual do here.
"Theotokos" begins akin to a droning SunnO))) piece - think of the slow heavy riffing and reverberating feedback which could shift mountains - before it gets going with only a marginal increase speed, just at the moment I was anticipating getting slapped in the face with blastbeats and hellish fury. Boasting a rough, organic production which compliments the darkened nocturnal feel to proceedings, "Komodo Dragon, Mother Queen" and "Christotokos" continue in similar vein - the bass being allowed a fair crack of the whip for a change, to lead while the guitars keep a consistently cold tempo and Attila Csihar provides a typically cavernous guest vocal appearance. "Cursed Virgin, Pregnant Whore" is truly dark and brooding, proving to all that proximity to the dark Lord is not necessarily measured in bpm, but it becomes apparent by this point that the speed is going to remain at such tempos till the end. Whereas a Secrets of the Moon may well hone equally jet-black passages of eerie soundscapes, their interspersing of greater tempos is what makes them a more interesting proposition as only when the speed does pick up in "Cursed Virgin.." it is hard not to feel such bouts of energy could have been beneficial earlier on.
Not at all unlike 1349's hugely divisive "Revelations of the Black Flame", "In Bondage to the Serpent" is likely to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of album. For the most part I do rather like it - it is menacing, intriguing and most importantly, different - but for the top marks that extra quality of not quite knowing what is to come next is absent. Whichever way you look at it, it sure beats another run-of-the-mill black metal speed-fest.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net