Nodus Tollens – Melancholic Waters Ablaze with the Fires of Loss (Review)

Nodus Tollens - Melancholic Waters Ablaze with the Fires of LossThis is the debut album from Nodus Tollens, a one-man black metal band from the US.

I was impressed with Nodus Tollens’ split with Crown of Asteria, so was looking forward to more material appearing from this artist. Across its 49 minutes, Melancholic Waters Ablaze with the Fires of Loss hasn’t disappointed.

If you’re new to this band, then the style is a mix of depressive and atmospheric black metal, laced with some melodic influences that seem to come from 90s alternative rock.

These songs are very expressive, and are clearly crafted with the aim of producing music that’s more than just aggressive or melodic. Rather, the point here is emotion-over-all, delving deep into the artist’s personal feelings to birth music that manifests as an emotionally-charged exploration of blackened expression. This is a richly shaded album that refuses to be just one thing despite the songs sharing common stylistic themes. The music might be darkly bleak in one moment, or lightly fragile the next, but whatever any particular part of a song might be doing, it all drips with emotion and atmosphere.

The album is almost overwhelming in its sense of despair. Grief, loss, woe, and pain are all given vent across the running time, raw and unfettered, bound only by the songwriting. It’s almost too much to bear, but elements of cautious hope and tentative beauty exist here too, providing the first agonising hints that something better might exist somewhere, somehow. These elusive moments are wrapped in a cloak of darkness so deep that it threatens to smother them completely, but enough light escapes to allow them to take root. Enough, perhaps, to keep going and make it through the night.

By the end of the album you know it was enough, and you know you can keep going into the uncertain future. Melancholic Waters Ablaze with the Fires of Loss may be an emotionally draining journey into the artist’s vision of near-hopelessness, but it’s one that is well worth taking, because it’s ultimately a triumphant one.

Very highly recommended for all lovers of emotively blackened darkness.

Favourite Track: The shockingly forlorn beauty of Ursa Minora, with its exquisite violin. A world within eight and a half minutes.

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