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Nonexist - Like the Fearless Hunter

Like the Fearless Hunter
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 26 July 2020, 11:47 PM

NONEXIST is a melodic death/thrash metal hybrid band from SWEDEN.  It is actually the project of Johan Reinholdz, who is also in ANDROMEDA, SKYFIRE, and recently joined DARK TRANQUILLITY. “Like The Fearless Hunter” is NONEXIST’s fourth full length album, in addition to also having two EP s.I haven’t listened to a lot of thrash metal this year but I seriously doubt any albums from that genre are as whiplash inducing as “Like The Fearless Hunter.”  The fast paced song writing, machine gun drums, and slick, shining guitar solos firmly hold down NONEXIST’s thrash side of their music.  But the song structures, melody, and vocals put their other foot into the melodic death camp.

It is impressive how Johan is able to meld the two very different styles together in such a way that doesn’t compromise any elements from each nor destroy the album’s flow. If it isn’t obvious by now, this doesn’t sound like your average MDM, mostly because it just never stops.  Although there are plenty of melodies, all the songs are fast paced.  There isn’t any ballads, intros, interludes, or anything other than a battering ram attitude that barely quits during the album’s 49 minute runtime.  It does have twelve tracks, which is a bit much for my tastes, but a few of them are on the short side and, as I previously mentioned, the tracks flow to and from each other with grace.

The album opens with “Strictly Sadistic Intent,” a perfect song for beginning this type of album.  The riffs immediately kick you in the gut and the drums grab your head and make it bang.  At under three minutes in length, it rides the line between being a kick ass intro and bad ass full length song.  It never tries to be more than it is; it drops bombs that leave behind much damage then ends.  Much of the album is catered to this line of thinking, which is a nice change of pace for me because so many bands let things go on too long or too often stretch outside their boundaries when it isn’t really needed at the time.

Johan’s vocals are a decent mix of death growls, rough cleans, and shouting thrash vocals.  He actually gives a performance of much variety, sounding different throughout the album. Those who are familiar with ANDROMEDA know that Johan is actually a virtuoso at the guitar.  Granted, “Like The Fearless Hunter,” isn’t the type of album that is going to display his full range of chops but his progressive side is sprinkled throughout.

Together We Shall Burn,” displays this in the song’s guitar leads but he doesn’t go overboard with it, balancing his insane talent with the style he needs at the moment.  This particular song is actually rather catchy both the mid paced groove and Johan’s vocal performance.  Hints of a style that reminds me of old school ARCH ENEMY rear their head near the song’s beginning and it is very welcomed. Some of the album’s best riffs are in “Fear Corrodes The Soul.” Some of the them are filled with a slower paced groove that wouldn’t sound out of place on some of DREAM THEATER’s heavier moments.  JOHAN’s combines these prog filled thrash riffs some incredible lead guitar work in the song’s mid section that perfectly bridges the gap between the song’s two halves.

A Meditation Upon Death,” is a darker track, casting a shadow over the melodies like early SOILWORK and DARKANE.  Dual melodies also live within the song’s nearly six minute run time, opting for a more traditional approach to melodic death.   The ending guitar solo is one of those that balances melody with more technical aspects, not unlike MEGADETH and ends the song on a high note. Despite the number of tracks, the deeper cuts are some of the best.  “Scent,” doubles down on the speed and aggression to present a song that sounds like a much more aggressive modern day version of AT THE GATES.   The speedy riffs, very much rooted in early thrash, still retain much of their melody and I was impressed how the song’s guitar solo is naturally birthed from them.

The last track, “Reduced To Ash,” is more death metal oriented than some of the others, especially with the riffs and vocals which are a mid pitched growl. Much like old school death metal, the song’s mid portion is filled with crushing riffs that just straight up pummel. All in all, NONEXIST’s “Like The Fearless Hunter,” is a fun, well done album that is a blast to listen to and is guaranteed to bang the head that doesn’t bang!  Yet another win for Johan!

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

4 Star Rating

1. Strictly Sadistic Intent
2. Together We Shall Burn
3. Dark Satanic Mills
4. Emerging From A World Below
5. Litany of Poison
6. Fear Corrodes the Soul
7. A Meditation upon Death
8. Bloody Carnal Sorcery
9. Dead Black Embrace
10. Scent
11. Cancerous Disembodiment
12. Reduced to Ash
Johan Reinholdz – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, and Vocals
Joakim Strandberg – Drums
Record Label: Mighty Music


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Edited 04 June 2023

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