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Nefas Terrible - 25%

severzhavnost, December 21st, 2015
Written based on this version: 2011, Digital, Independent

With this one little EP, unknown Russian black metal group Nefas Terra have unilaterally redefined what a song is. Apparently, it no longer requires distinct verse and chorus riffs, or any kind of interesting transitions, or an ending! The intros are all that give the illusion of song variety. To be fair, some of these intros are actually quite good, like the foreboding, passable De Mysteriis imitation of "Раннее Христианство". After these teasing glimpses, the six songs here all sink into tediously similar alternating doses of tremolo, blast beats and shrieks spelled by a reprise of the intro riff.

You really only need to hear one song and you know what the rest will be like. If you want, try "Выхода нет". At the :45 mark, there's a bit of keyboard and choir vocal samples that give the only bit of spirit or character to the whole record. Apart from that, we are treated to barely perceptibly slight variations of heavy tremolo buzzing for verses and choruses; separated by what I guess could be called bridges. However, the word "bridge" sounds like it leads somewhere, building up a change in pace or mood in the song. Nefas Terra tend to just use about half a minute to fill time and give the singers a rest between verses.

On the bright side, the guitar sound is quite high quality, somewhere around what Marduk was doing in the mid-90s. And the singers are both forceful enough, often doubling up an Abbathy rasp with a low death growl like what Dan Hulse contributed to the third Woods of Ypres. It's just too bad that the formulaic songwriting doesn't allow this vocal tandem to express any impactful range of atmospheres. I mean, when a song called "Early Christianity" carries the same feel as a song called "Suicide", you know you're doing it wrong.

This record's title translates to Life in the Shadows. Well, we're not really missing much if this one were to stay in the shadows. It's just appallingly unimaginative black metal. I'm far from the type who wants every album I hear to reinvent the genre. I just don't need forgettable hangers-on who don't leave any recognizable signature.