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Nihilism - Apocalyptic Fate - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, February 6th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Great Dane Records (Digipak)

Founded in 2009 „Apocalyptic Fate“ is the second full length by French death metal commando Nihilism. Their style is pretty much a straight-forward one and while the innovation factor is not huge this album is just a perfect example of traditional and perfectly executed death metal paying homage to some of the genre’s heroes without forgetting to include a few own ideas.

The drumming is rock solid and never too hectic or nervous. This approach perfectly fits to the music and underlines the stoic yet groovy nature of the songs. Generally speaking most of the songs are pretty much straight forward and one might argue that the record sounds a bit samey over the whole running time. Listening closely you are going to find out that Nihilism often use a subtle variation of certain parts and the trademark harmonies implemented within the tracks make the whole record sound like one stringent piece of music. Some of the tracks are more memorable than others but there is none that you might want to skip.

The riffing is very tight and the basis chords vary between the traditional stoic chops and a more thrashy/sometimes technical and uplifting style. The interplay between the main chords and the lead parts are especially impressive. There are not too many really long and drawn-out solo sections although the skills of the musicians are obviously on a very high level. Instead of boring the consumer to tears with complicated breaks these melodic interludes are cleverly used as bridges between various parts of one song and often act as transition from faster and more aggressive sections to calmer and groovier parts.

The songwriting skills of the guys are fantastic and there are a lot of haunting and very intense moments but also some catchy hooks pitched against the pummeling attacks that are going to stick with the listener after the first spin. While the tempo is quite high for the most parts there are also some slower sections in which the music is creepily dripping out of the speakers. These pieces help kicking the intensity of the whole affair up another notch. In those parts singer Sébastien sounds even more sinister and evil than in the faster ones. His growling is of the highest order.

The production is again very powerful with the guitars having a crunchy sound and drums being punchy. The bass is audible as well which is always a big plus when it comes to this kind of music. The mix is transparent giving each detail enough room to breathe. Coming again with a stunning and atmospheric artwork “Apocalyptic Fate” is a fantastic slab of old school death metal and should satisfy fans of each end of the genre. Great stuff!