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Nimphaion - Qoth the Raven - 90%

Edmund Sackbauer, March 12th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, More Hate Productions

Edgar Allan Poe is quite a popular name when it comes to dark and poetic literature. He died being only 40 years old and the reason and the circumstances for that have been as mysterious as most of his work. A few years before his death he wrote one of his most famous poems called “The Raven” which is telling about a man in grief because of the death of his love and his strange conversation with said animal which has the ability to talk human language. Nimphaion are a Russian symphonic black metal band not only taking inspirations from this stuff but using parts of Mr. Poe’s work as lyrics for their music.

One thing that becomes immediately obvious is that “Quoth the Raven” should mainly be viewed as one connected work of art. Like a book with several chapters all the songs are just pieces that while of course can also be consumed on their own gain a lot when listened to in one sitting. All the typical elements are there. Heavy tremolo pickings and blast-beats are presented as relentless as fans of that genre are used to. Epic keyboard samples are creating an atmospheric background working as contrast to the hard hitting riffs. Symphonic elements paint beautiful but also melancholic landscapes. Nimpahion do not shy away from implementing a lot of calmer sections with piano lines and spoken lyrics.

This album is not about technical showcases or an attempt to sound as brutal as possible. Each song has a well thought-out build up with a lot of moody interludes that are used for interconnecting the different musical parts. In the middle the main track “The Raven” surprises with a length of over twelve minutes giving the musicians the possibility to use all the different elements within one song. The trademark chords and the awesome lead harmonies create an amazing atmosphere that will carry away each listener.

The vocals mainly consists of classic black metal barking but there also a few growls thrown into the mix lending the record a bit of a melodic death metal edge. Singer Demether uses a very heavy accent underlining the factor of occultism that is always present. Like mentioned above he also makes use of other styles like spoken words passages or whispering in despair.

The production is pretty much flawless. The mix is very clear with all the symphonic details being perfectly audible. None of the many elements has been buried in the mix and guitars and drums have a nice punch. The moody artwork perfectly fits to the music completing a very atmospheric and varied piece of music.