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Nigrum Tenebris - I Am The Serpent Award winner

Nigrum Tenebris
I Am The Serpent
by Ralka Skjerseth at 24 January 2022, 12:57 AM

Many great names have helped build the emergence of the German black metal scene, including DARKENED NOCTURN SLAUGHTERCULT and SARKRISTA. This time, my focus would be on the up-and-coming NIGRUM TENEBRIS with their debut "I am the Serpent" via Sol Records. On my first listen, my impression on this record was that this two-piece black metal act wanted to convey the agony of existing and the banality of human existence itself in a form of six menacing, abrasive cacophonic tracks. This whole record somehow screams chaotic transgression, represented by the themes it delivers: heresy and nihilism. It’s almost like the band aggressively revolts against the mundane corruptness of organized beliefs. Nietzschean type beat, I should say. The way these songs also elucidate the themes surrounding longing for nothingness also reminds me of the concept of Antithesis according to Hegel where it is stated that the absolute is nothing. This is a profoundly existential record, I should say.

What makes this record even more spectacular is that it was mastered by Henri Sorvali of MOONSORROW and FINNTROLL fame at the Trollhouse Audio studio. I personally am a geek for Finnish metal, so seeing his collaboration with NIGRUM TENEBRIS somehow excites me. The production of this record also reminds me of early 90s Swedish death metal bands, the likes of AT THE GATES and ENTOMBED and stuff. The album opens with a cathartic 1-minute intro which happens to be a choir-like lamentation. Then it is proceeded by the belligerent fast-paced intro of “The Beauty of Suffering” which later becomes slower in pace on the interlude. The title track “I Am the Serpent”, as far as I observe, seems to possess elements influenced by 90s Norwegian black metal, some Kampfar-esque or Mayhem-esque influence. “False Prophets” and “Spit to their Graves” are both tracks that emphasize vehement stances of iconoclasm, as an attempt of criticizing blind faith and the rigidity of organized beliefs and religious systems. Sonically, “Spit to their Graves” opens with a melodic intro and a spoken word poetry-like recitation. Closing track “Ode to the Nothingness” builds a deep void-inducing atmosphere, which aligns with the nihilistic point of view of the song.

Artwork-wise, this album’s cover art is influenced by Gustave Doré’s “The Destruction of Leviathan”, only that this album’s cover art is a colored version. To me it’s an act of intricate satire to feature a religious painting as a cover art of an album that speaks of iconoclasm. And I find it somehow cool, how the destruction of the serpent that represents chaos becomes the feature artwork of an album under a theme of longing for chaos and nothingness. The topics of nihilism and criticism towards organized religion have always been my kind of thing, so to find an album that covers these topics is especially enlightening to me. Mostly if it’s black metal with fast-paced riffs and blast beats. This is the epitome of pure mayhem and revolt that everyone on the quest of meanings seeks for. I have a feeling that NIGRUM TENEBRIS, even though still up-and-coming, would make a name for themselves in the scene. I’d definitely recommend "I am the Serpent to everyone who reads this.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Intro
2. The Beauty of Suffering
3. I am the Serpent
4. False Prophets
5. Spit to our Creeds
6. Ode to the Nothingness
Lineup:
Noxathra - All Instruments
Maldoror - Vocals
Record Label: Sol Records
     


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Edited 05 December 2022
 

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