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Noxis – Expanse Of Hellish Black Mire

Noxis
Expanse Of Hellish Black Mire
by Santiago Puyol at 15 November 2020, 2:19 PM

Coming from Cleveland, Ohio, NOXIS are an old school Death Metal band, debuting this 2020 with "Expanse Of Hellish Black Mire", their first EP, released past October 30th. The band’s sound goes straight to the brutal, nightmarish sound of classic Death Metal, filled with blood, guts, viscera and disgusting imagery, always with a tinge of existentialist fare.

The EP opens with noisy feedback and what sounds like a detuned piano although it might be heavily treated guitar, making for a horror movie soundtrack brief intro, before going into full mayhem mode. Grant Mastropieri lays down some spidery, exotic riffing, alternating between slightly melodic phrasing, crunchiness and squeaking guitar noises. Dave Kirsch’s bass is quite prominent, while Ray Conde manages to show off his menacing, primal growls as well as his frantic, diverse approach to the drum kit. At times, things take a wall of sound approach that becomes almost unbearably loud, at even if it isn’t a banger, "Dream Infested" is an outstanding opener with impressive, complex songwriting.

At four and a half minutes, "Dream Infested" is the longest track. The other three all fall short of the three-minute mark, making them a bit more streamlined and straightforward than the almost artsy feel of the opener’s songwriting. It works mostly, as this three tracks are more accessible (for a Death Metal listener at least) and go right to the point. "Contorted Bowels Warm" is possibly my favourite of the three shorter songs.

"Contorted Bowels Warm" is almost thrashy in its rhythm, although it takes a slow, sludgier detour two-thirds in. That last section is certainly very headbang-friendly, at least before things get engulfed by a barricade of blast beats and manic riffing. Meanwhile, "Incubated Disgust" mixes catchiness with pure musical bedlam. Mastropieri teases the listener with brief, memorable riffing, while Conde and Kirsch hint some nasty grooves in between the sheer aggressiveness. The track never feels broken but it is the less cohesive of the three. Things end up in pure noise –it might be a sample or some heavily effected instrument– before giving way to the closer.

The EP ends up with the wall of sound that is "Guts Liquify". Constantly going in full speed, it never slows down, smashing your ears with punishing force. It is a tour de force, with the three band members moving like a perfectly oiled machine. The sound certainly is very machine-like, almost robotic, in its repetitive and brutal nature. A brief reprise of the sounds at the beginning of the EP bookend it, bringing everything full circle.

NOXIS deliver an auspicious debut with "Expanse Of Hellish Black Mire", one that lives up to the promise of going for an old school sound. It might not reinvent the genre but it breathes new air into it. Keep an attentive eye (and ear) to what’s coming next from them!

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dream Infested
2. Contorted Bowels Warm
3. Incubated Disgust
4. Guts Liquify
Lineup:
Dave Kirsch – Bass
Grant Mastropieri – Guitar
Ray Conde – Drums/Vocals
Record Label: Pulverised / Rotted Life
     


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