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The Rawness Of Celestial Kings - 70%

diogoferreira, May 5th, 2015

Hailing from Liverpool, UK, Ninkharsag have started as a one-man-band in 2009, but in 2011 the project became a full band and things started to gain shape. With a demo (2011) and a single (2013) already launched, the band has just released the debut album “The Blood Of Celestial Kings” via Candlelight Records.

The first track “The Sicarii” kicks off in a powerful and fast way worthy of black metal always with a melodic vein in it that’s not fully nostalgic or fully depressive, but it flows somewhere between the thin line that separates both adjectives. Amidst that melodic component there are some heavy and almost lingering guitar riffs not allowing bleakness to run away from the band’s concept. Always aligned with black metal, some well-worked riffs almost reach an epic outfit with Kyle Nesbitt’s agonizing voice on top, like in “The Essential Salts Of Human Dust”. Even if melody remains an attractive aspect, like in the short song “Destroyed By Design”, there are also sharper passages in “Ninkharsag” giving to the band a chance to rise its most violent and orthodox side. Other songs that are included in the album’s final phase follow this line making its second half more conventional and aggressive than the first one. An interesting detail emerges in the sixth “Tartarus Unbound” in which the rhythm guitar, acting in a full-bodied role, follows the lead guitar’s melody that opens the track till a wave of drumming rolls completes the entire soundscape that’s headed by Nesbitt’s vocals. A little allusion to thrash metal can also be found in this song, thus varying Ninkharsag’s root.

The album’s production is quite raw and it’s clearly focused on the guitars. Raw productions always embody some duality and it may be dangerous, but black metal has a considerable amount of leeway concerning it. However, drums are a little bit strident which may annoy some production purists, but, in turn, cool bass lines – that are mainly melodious – can be heard here and there during the album. “The Blood Of Celestial Kings” is a nice achievement and a very mature record – even for a debut one – that will shake the underground scene if things are correctly done, both by the band and the label who’s promoting and supporting them.

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