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Naga – Void Cult Rising Award winner

Void Cult Rising
by Justin “Witty City” Wittenmeier at 17 November 2019, 10:51 PM

NAGA is an Italian Doom Metal band with a Blackened edge.  “Void Cult Rising,” is their second full length album; they have also released two EP s. One of those EP s, 2016’s “Inanimate,” is one of the few albums I’ve heard that I classify as sounding truly scary.  Something about the album just shook me to a core I didn’t even know I had.  To this day, I count it among my favorite extreme Doom albums.

So what about “Void Cult Rising?”  Does it leave me with such a high impression?  Does it pull at the darker emotions and feelings within?  Yes, yes it does…but this album presents itself in a different way.  It definitely evokes sorrow and fear but it comes from a different place: the void.  What is the void?  The void is just anti-existence.  Anything that is felt within that makes us question ourselves, that attempts to become our negation, is inside this darkest of places.  And this place is cold.

As previously mentioned, “Inanimate” was scary but “Void Cult Rising,” is as cold as the void from which is came. This coldness, this deadly, icy touch, is born out of a hopeless feeling of being completely detached from safety and security. In addition, “Void Cult Rising,” sees the band expanding their sound.  They didn’t change their style—this is still dark, depressing, Doom but they have built upon what makes them so great.  Post-Metal makes its way into their cold, alien world but don’t think of something like ALCEST.  Here, in this barren world of desperation, you won’t find any clean vocal lines or melodic landscapes.  Here there be demons—demons that are represented in audio format by sludge riffs that drop down from the scarred skies above, tortured vocals, bass that moves like a creature in the night, and a raw but intricate drum performance.

Only A God Can’t Save Us,” throws out the dark art of their Blackened Doom notes that grab you like tendrils from an unseen creatures of the depths.  As you get pulled in, the music gets darker a deeper as your flesh is slowly crushed by the pressure. After the four-minute mark, the riffs are a reminder of your impending doom; the sudden change in speed afterwards is the beginning and end of your gasps for air. “Melete,” is a track that, I imagine, would be playing in my head over and over if I were ever lost in a cave.  This song is just deep, dark, and all-encompassing in its approach to suck every ounce of light out of the room.  The clean, quieter movement starting at the 4:48 movement is stark and towering, a constant worry in the back of your mind that something will eventually kill you.  The beast lurking around the corner?  The one that lurks within, clawing just below the surface until you are now the lurking creature? The bass in “Bedim The Sun,” is immediately powerful and dangerous.  I always respond with bass when I’m asked what the most important instrument in Metal is and this track tells why I feel that way.

The cold melodies of “Thanatou,” hang like dead bodies from the gallows.  This song is definitely one of their more harrowing tracks—if going mad could be translated to audio form then I’m pretty sure it would sound something like this. “Pyre,” is the song that reminded me most of Post-Metal.  Even the most jaded bands of that subgenre can’t match the special kind of darkness presented here by NAGA.  Would that any other band try a track like this, it may come out as adventurous or bold.  But with these Italians, it comes off as a dead end on a street with no name, in an ancient city long lost to the eyes of man.  So maybe it is adventurous…but you won’t find anything that won’t kill you, leaving you broken and bloodied to die alone.

And then we come to the title track: “Void Cult Rising,” indeed.  This might be my favorite NAGA song in that it scares me the most.  It is a lot to handle—at fourteen minutes in length, is a trip to the void itself and quite the unnerving adventure.  From 5:33 to 11:20 minutes into the track might just be the heaviest, darkest, blackest, sickest, and most anxiety inducing Doom I’ve heard all year.  This track is pure… Elder God Death Cult incarnate.  I made that up but I can’t think of any other words to put together that could do this song justice and accurately describe what is experienced.  It is of an old world, one where “good” and “evil” are just concepts because the real definition of this anti-life force can’t be understood.

NAGA have crafted an album that is just as good, if not better, than anything they have done.  I LOVE Doom and have reviewed A LOT of it this year—so many bands have released extremely dark music such as ATARAXIE, KRYPTS, DROWN, and EPITAPHE.  But even those bands can’t match the sounds contained with these six tracks.

Musicanship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Only A God Can’t Save Us
2. Melete
3. Bedim The Sunday
4. Thanatou
5. Pyre
6. Void Cult Rising
Emanuele Schember – Bass, Effects
Dario Graziano – Drums
Lorenzo De Stefano – Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Spikerot Records


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