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The 8th Window – Wandering the Wasteland of This Joyless Existence

The 8th Window
Wandering the Wasteland of This Joyless Existence
by Alex Barnard at 20 June 2021, 8:46 PM

THE 8TH WINDOW is the solo Black Metal project of Lawrence, KS-based musician Derek Neibarger. This is the debut EP for this project, which was released on Neibarger’s imprint, Atomic Zombie Records on April 6, 2021.

“Wandering The Wasteland Of This Joyless Existence” begins with the track, “Me.” The track begins with a slow atmospheric build-up before launching us headfirst into an avalanche of frost-bitten blast beats and tremolo-picked guitar lines. Neibarger’s vocals are a real highlight here; brutal and articulate enough to understand what he’s saying yet not overshadowing the layers of instrumental madness he creates here. In other words, Neibarger may have one of the best Black Metal voices I’ve ever heard.

“You,” follows, beginning with an ominous tremolo-picked melody line and a chilling chord progression that screams of influences from the New York-based Black Metal band, KRALLICE. Neibarger begins the track whispering over a clean guitar melody, adding to the terrifying atmosphere before bringing us back into the swirling abyss of blast beats. Neibarger’s guitar playing is another highlight of this song, as a lot of the lines in this second half are reminiscent of early Emperor.

After “You,” comes “Them,” the longest track on the EP clocking in at six minutes and 37 seconds. Neibarger masterfully keeps the intensity at its maximum threshold here, and the drum programming is so well done that it hardly sounds programmed at all. Finally, the EP ends with “Us,” beginning with a clean melody that honestly reminds me of MASTODON more than anything else. However, this moment is only fleeting, as Neibarger sends us plummeting into a section that would have made “Transylvanian Hunger” -era DARKTHRONE jealous.

My one complaint with this EP is with the mix. Of course, Black Metal albums are not known for their stellar mixes; it’s part of the aesthetic of the genre. However, it sounded to me as if the EP was clipping the entire time, which is definitely something that I think Neibarger should address for future releases. That being said, the music holds up well enough that I’m willing to look past this discrepancy and listen to it over and over again. If you’re into traditional Black Metal, you’re really going to dig “Wandering The Wasteland Of This Joyless Existence.”

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

3 Star Rating

1. Me
2. You
3. Them
4. Us
Derek Neibarger – Vocals / Drum Programming / Bass / Guitar
Record Label: Atomic Zombie Records


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