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Naxen - Towards the Tomb of Times

Naxen
Towards the Tomb of Times
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 26 June 2020, 3:53 AM

NAXEN is a German black metal band, active since 2018.  “Towards The Tomb Of Times,” is their first full length album;  they also released an EP in 2018.   “Ttowards The Tomb Of Times,” may have “just” four tracks but it has almost 50 minutes of music, with the shortest track still being over ten minutes in length. Don’t let the song lengths bother you because this album is captivating with never any lulls.  All four songs are very emotive and atmospheric, but not overly.  This is still raw and aggressive black metal but balances melody and even some doom elements among the fire filled passion.  The overall style is black metal but the atmosphere often times evokes some doom influences, particularly the dismal miasma that hangs over each track.

The first track, “To Welcome The Withering,” presents  every aspect I just mentioned within the first couple minutes. Subtle use of melodies and harmonies layer upon each other as sinister riffs march up to the front lines of the song.   It all explodes at the 1:46 into unbridled fury that would satisfy even the most pick of black meal fans.  The song plows on through, blackened vocals snapping at anything that moves, letting the riffs do their work which slows down to doom style towards the song end. The middle portion of the song and last couple minute or are melodic darkness and it seems to be the specialty of NAXEN to add in drops of melody without sacrificing guile.  It is a clever song writing mechanism that keeps the songs from staying fresh as the minutes tick by.

The Odious Ordeal,” is death stalking, the riffs just lumbering forward without anything to stop them from eating your soul.  The tempo adjusts slightly as the song goes, speeding up to near inhuman levels and then back down to more introspective territory.  The song calms quite a bit in the mid section but just droops Gothic atmosphere.  The later half the song sees the band dropping extremely heavy riffs onto the song’s foundation, like the sonic boom that accompanies lighting. Overall, this is a dangerously moody song that shifts between these black and gray shades with deadly efficiency.

The focal point of the album is the two part song “A Shadow In The Fire.”  The two parts are different in approach but tied together in common themes of desolation and loneliness. The first part is considerably more methodical in this approach.  The sludgy blackened riffs are the perfect muddy waters for the truly depraved vocal performance.   The song speeds up, a nice change of pace before the lead guitar drops some subtle melody into the overall experience. The second part, “Where Fire Awaits,” sounds more twisted and mysterious to me, due in no small part to the guitar working so close with the vocals to birth these harrowing sounds.  This song has some clean vocals but they sound like the lost echo of the long departed and only had to the horror.  Likewise, the clean guitar and whispered vocals add to the detached nature of the song.  The last couple minutes are unbridled fury that ends the album perfectly.

NAXEN’s “Towards The Tomb Of Times” is an unbridled example how to keep black metal raw without sacrificing song writing or emotional elements.  This album is one that doesn’t overdo any one element, instead placing everything where it needs to be for the song to work. If you want a meaty black metal experience that goes against the grain, honoring the style while pushing its own sound forward, this one is it.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. To Welcome The Withering
2. The Odious Ordeal
3. A Shadow In The Fire Part I (Scars of Solitude)
4. A Shadow In The Fire Part II (Where Fire Awaits)
Lineup:
SP – Bass
FT – Guitars, Vocals
LN – Vocals, Guitars
FD – Drums (Session)
Record Label: Vendetta Records
     


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