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Underwhelming Profanity - 45%

Petrus_Steele, January 12th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Relapse Records

Profane Nexus brings us an excellent mix of all the instruments, interesting song titles, distinct atmosphere, and as expected... a lineup change. Not significant, but Alex Bouks left after the XXV compilation album and joined another New York horsepower and pioneers in Immolation. Definitely an honor. Sonny Lombardozzi replaced him. Unbeknownst to people, Sonny is either a good friend to the band or something remarkably different since he’s credited in previous releases, while performing live with the band from 2002 to 2004 and since 2014. So it seems, after all, John wasn’t exactly alone as a solo guitarist in the band. Sonny contributed guitar work and some songwriting since Dirges of Elysium. So in this release he’s a session musician, but would perform live with the band. You know where this leads after...

All the songs (well, except for that one minute Xipe Totec) have slower moments in them to create an atmosphere. Before we get into that, the instruments deserve the utmost attention first. Quality or not, the guitar work sounds fantastic across the board, with the amusing pitch harmonics, the fast riffs, and nowadays there are a few unrelenting palm-mutes very destructively. Stating the record has an excellent mix, it shows with the bass. I think it’s got a little more love than in the past, and you can listen to its important and impactful lines; slow or fast. I’m not too thrilled about the drums’ sound, but the performance is still great. And John’s death growls. With every release, he sounds better.

Muse was the right pick to start off the record. It’s got the perfect blend between the faster and slower substance, and even a bit of atmosphere. It has something in common with Visceral Hexahedron, albeit the latter being more atmosphere. You’ll also find songs like The Horns of Gefrin and Messiah Nostrum quite similar with their exchanges from the blasting energy to the gloomier characteristics. Speaking of which, for the first time, we hear the most atmospheric song from the band which is Incorporeal Despair. From bass to the guitar, you have some amazingly executed slow chorus-effected melodies, especially for the bass’s sound that makes the song a bit more melodic, almost like funeral death metal. I would imagine the band being much better had they produced more songs like this.

With that being said, unfortunately, this record is simply underwhelming and repetitive. While I believe all the songs, or those I couldn’t connect to have a lot of potential in them, something in them was missing. With the amount of fast riffs, melodies, exchange of paces, and some heavy notes, perhaps it lacks more energy. Maybe it doesn’t feel as good as previous records. It could be just the direction with Relapse Records that killed the vibe. To an otherwise outstanding production and mix, themes, song titles, and instrumentation, it was yet another uninspiring listen from the band. Of course, I don’t deny the possibility that this record is just not for me. Then again, I’ve listened to objectively better records that the band produced. The best songs are Muse and Incorporeal Despair.