Nihill

Verdonkermaan

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Concluding the third part of a trilogy, Verdonkermaan finds Nihill continuing their black metal love in full effect, simultaneously a familiar romp through well-loved tropes and flashes of individual intensity and skill. That distant howls, guitars so trebly and fuzzy as to be washes in the distance, high-speed drums and the like help kick off the opening "Vuur: The Deathwind of Resurrection" shows the par for the course, admittedly. But the focused downward guitar slashes toward the middle of the track as well as the near nods to thrash bring in a little extra focus, and from there the album makes its enjoyable if not wholly unique path. Something that is notable throughout that's been a hallmark of the band's work is the attention to the drumming -- for all that there's the flowing wash one might guess, there's also an actual sense of impact rather than simply skittering along. It's not a new approach in the field either, but it's still worth enjoying for what it is. In contrast, "Gnosis, Pt. 4" goes the percussionless drone/whispery vocals/zoneout route, a bit of drone recontextualized. Elsewhere, the relentless steady chug of "Spiral: The Tail Eater" suits the title, but in ways it's the sense of something almost -- if not quite -- uplifting in the arrangement, a moment of softer breathing before it all turns in on itself once more.

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