Nightbringer – Terra Damnata (Review)

NightbringerThis is Nightbringer’s fifth album. They are a black metal band from the US.

Where to start with an album like this? There’s so much expansive content it’s hard to do it justice with words.

Okay, so they’re a black metal band, so you know roughly what to expect. The base of the band’s second-wave influences are still intact, but they expand from this with the ease of veterans who know exactly what they want to achieve with their art. And they should too; with current and ex-members of bands such as Akhlys, Adaestuo, Sargeist, Crimson Moon, Demoncy, Enthroned, Lvcifyre, Coldborn, and many others in their ranks, this is a band that know a thing or two about the style.

There’s so much rich, dense, textured content on Terra Damnata to enjoy, it’s quite overwhelming. The fact that the band manage to pull this off all while playing passionate, ferocious black metal that has a blistering intensity all of its own is quite the achievement.

Nightbringer build on their scything blackened assault with occult ideas and intelligent compositions. In fact, the amount of creativity and interesting touches that they have managed to fit into an essentially fast and aggressive framework is quite surprising.

It’s not all played at hyperspeed, of course, as the band have a keen sense of both dynamics and pacing. Essentially the bulk of the album is high-velocity material, but with enough detours from this to keep things engaging. The latter elements increase as you move through the playing time; as the album unfolds, so does the musical landscape.

The blackened guitars seem sharp enough to touch, while the layered leads and keyboards make for music with plenty of depth and nuance. The music carries with it a real sense of orchestral/classical music that’s been transmuted into fierce blackened distortion by alchemical masters.

Mixing dissonant nastiness, grand majesty and splendour, and atmospheric vastness, Terra Damnata is an incredibly well-realised and extremely satisfying album. This is elite black metal that demands your attention. Get to it.

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