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Niht - Arcanum Award winner

by Gary Hernandez at 26 May 2021, 4:11 PM

When I first saw the band name NIHT, I thought it was a clever spelling of “night.” You know, stripped down and raw. Then I saw they were from Memmingen, Germany and thought, “Huh, maybe it’s meant to be the literal German word, ‘niht.’” In which case it would mean “not” . . . which is also clever. And then I thought, why not both? So, another thing Google translate taught me today is the word “angst” is not only an English word synonymous with “teenager” but also a German word meaning “anxiety.” Yep, total learning day for me.

More things I learned: The Black Metal duo of S. and Z. (both also from the Death Metal band, NEKROVAULT) have recently released their second full-length album, “Arcanum,” on April 9, 2021. It is 34 minutes and 23 seconds, seven tracks in all, of a total Black Metal ass kicking. You should buy it and then send me a thank you note for turning you on to some seriously devastating BM . . . or to NIHT thanking them for corrupting your soul. Your choice.

Things to know about NIHT. The mixing and mastering are surprisingly well done, especially for a Black Metal album. The separation across all instruments is so crisp you can actually hear the bass line and Z.’s most unclean vocals serrate the riffage like metal on bone. The promo material says that “thematically the album deals with feelings and emotions. From blossoming fear to eternal nothingness, it is drifting emptiness to the end of light.” I’m guessing that’s accurate. I mean it feels accurate — the vibe of this album is bleak, nihilistic aggression — but I couldn’t understand a word. That’s not a criticism, just a fact. After all, I have American ears and metal onset titanites.

Standout tracks, not necessarily in order, are as follows: “Wahn” (trans: delusion) for its slowed-up intro, its killer bassline, and its multiple movements which all combine to make this a seriously intense and evocative track. “Luge” (trans: lie) for its massive shift at the 2:25 mark which makes this song seem like two in one. I also love Z’s unrelenting belting on this track. “Schmerz” (trans: pain) because the melody stuck in my head like that tent stake Jael rammed in that dude’s head. And “Sucht” because holy shit, I mean from the 0:03 mark to 3:40 mark it’s just perfect . . . so much so that the last twenty-some odd seconds of creepy spoken word is a pretty much mandatory to cool your ass down and get ready for the next onslaught.

It’s never too surprising to hear great metal from Germany. Pick your subgenre, Germany just does metal right. NIHT is a prime example, but this is more than just one great band out of a bunch of others. This is two talented musicians who have served up some high-quality brutal Death Metal in one incarnation and blistering Black Metal in another. NIHT. “Arcanum.” Damn.

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

4 Star Rating

1.  Angst
2.  Schmerz
3.  Lüge
4.  Sucht
5.  Hass
6.  Wahn
7.  Tod
S. – Guitars
Z. – Vocals, Bass
Record Label: Van Records


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Edited 07 October 2022

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