Blistering, ferocious, harsh, brutal, nasty, crushing -- those are the sort of adjectives that are typically used to describe Ninnuam, one of the numerous bands that came out of Sweden's death metal/black metal underground in the early 2000s. Although Ninnuam uses a keyboardist and offers some melodic passages here and there, the Nordic headbangers should not be classified as either melodic death metal or symphonic black metal (two styles that have set out to avoid the limitations of death metal/black metal by combining sledgehammer aggression with the sort of intricacy and musicality that characterized power metal back in the '70s and '80s). Ultimately, Ninnuam is about density, harshness, and naked brutality; those are the things that headbangers expect from Ninnuam, whose influences have included Dark Funeral, Slayer, Cradle of Filth, Obituary, Dimmu Borgir, and early Entombed.
Ninnuam was formed in Katrineholm, Sweden, in late 2001, when the band started out as a quartet consisting of Kim Laakso (born 1978) and Robert Gustavsson (born 1981) on guitar, Andreas "Lenny" Jennische on bass and Thord Brännkärr (born 1980) on drums. For about seven months, the band was called Yxa (which means ax in Swedish) and didn't have a regular full-time vocalist, but Yxa changed their name to Ninnuam when two new members were added to the lineup: lead singer Mattias Johansson, aka Matte Hellcore (who was born in Katrineholm in 1977 and has led a Swedish band called Kodeen) and keyboardist Robert Johansson. The name Ninnuam was taken from a book (or alleged book) called The Necronomicon, which deals with demons and the occult; the word ninnuam allegedly refers to the power of a demon named Marduk. Some students of the occult claim that The Necronomicon was written in Damascus around 730 A.D. by an Arab named Abdul Alhazred; others have insisted that The Necronomicon is merely a prop that the late horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft (born 1890, died 1937) invented for his 20th century fiction books. At any rate, the members of Ninnuam have -- like so many other death metal/black metal artists -- addressed Satanism and the occult in their lyrics. However, Laakso has been quoted as saying that Ninnuam is "not trying to preach about some satanic ideology even if some of our lyrics consist of a satanic theme." In 2002 -- the year Måns Jaktlund replaced Jennische as Ninnuam's bassist -- the Nordic moshers made their first recording: a demo titled Scar Salvation. The following year, Ninnuam signed with Low Frequency Records, a small Finnish indie label, and recorded their first full-length album, Process of Life Separation. After being released on Low Frequency in Scandinavia in 2003, Process of Life Separation was distributed in the United States by Crash Music in 2004.