Nihil Invocation – “Chthonian Twilight Ritual”

Band: Nihil Invocation

Album: Chthonian Twilight Ritual

Label: Self-released

Release date: August 1, 2017

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Nothing gets me moist in the loins like words with four consonants in a row, and Nihil Invocation’s debut album “Chthonian Twilight Ritual” delivers on that right away. But grammatical eroticism aside, they also deliver a raw work of American black metal, I mean just look at this grim motherfucker on the cover, he doesn’t give a shit. But you should give a shit, this release is fiiiiiiiiiine.

The early 2000s black metal scene was a special time. The Norwegian scene’s stranglehold on the genre had waned as the classic bands dissolved or took their projects in dubious directions. Labels like End All Life, Drakkar Productions and Sombre Records were at their peak and cranking out cult release after cult release. USBM was thriving, for better or for worse, with divisive bands like Judas Iscariot and Krieg making waves. Buzz over the already-extinct French Black Legions and Moonblood had reached a fever pitch, and bootleggers made a mint selling fake copies of their highly-limited demos on eBay. This is, of course, a very simplified view of what was going on at the time, but the point is that Nihil Invocation will charmingly remind you of these bands and bring you back to that era with a sloppy, I-don’t-give-a-fuck sound.
Nihil Invocation, the brainchild of one Deathwalker, is a very young band; having only spawned in 2016, “Chthonian Twilight Ritual” is their first full length, following a couple of demos and a split. You’re greeted with a wonderfully awkward guitar tone reminiscent of the French bands around the Black Legions era, very raw but with a touch of melancholy and nostalgia. Like I said, this is sloppy stuff; things often sound like they’re not quite syncing up the way they should, and the uneasy feeling this produces is fitting. Nihil Invocation are at their best when they keep their songs mid-paced, like in “Grief Stalks the Ancient Forlorn Dream.” The morbid, dissonant riffs come through best when things are slower and more audible. When things pick up speed, the cymbals tend to drown out the guitars out and weaken the sound a bit. The short “March from a Battle of Past and Ashen Woes” is essentially an instrumental interlude despite a few growls near the end, and really showcases some of the great work they can pull off. Round things off with a well-executed Moonblood cover and you have a pretty solid album.

One gripe I have is that almost every song fades out, so very few of them have particularly impactful endings. They just take whatever the last riff was and keep it going on over and over until the song’s gone. I think we’d get a lot more out of these songs if the endings were more memorable and made a real racket when they climax. Like your mum.

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The more I listen to this, the more it reminds me of early Judas Iscariot; none of the instruments are quite on point, and that’s part of its charm. Needless to say, anyone digging the fancy pieces of studio grandeur that comes out of Nuclear Blast these days will probably dismiss this before the first track’s over, but to those who love their black metal sounding unrehearsed and stripped down, this release will be right up their blackened alleys. Yes, that sounded a lot better in my head.

The whopping 30 CD copies are already sold out so good luck with that, but don’t fret, it’s available on Bandcamp. Crank this fucker because it’s a great bit of American black metal. Oh, hey! Look, here it is! https://nihilinvocation.bandcamp.com/album/chthonian-twilight-ritual

– Voidhanger

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