Saturday, April 8, 2017

Blackend Horizon - "Nerhegeb" (2016)


BLACKEND HORIZON "Nerhegeb"

Year: 2016
Genre: Raw Atmospheric Blackened Crust
Country: Germany

Tracklist:

  1. As Shadows Among Nephilim
  2. 56°30'09.3"N, 14°42'45.7"E
  3. The Third Week of Autumn
  4. A Parhelions Last Descending
  5. Now, I Am Become Death, The Destroyer of Worlds

Blackend Horizon, to some extent, defies genre labels. Moments of pure noise rear through waves of mournful ambience, crushingly crusty aggression mellows with atmospheric DSBM-esque melodies, and "Raw Atmospheric Blackened Crust" seems to fall short of complete accuracy when trying to encompass the real span and depth of this strongly anti-racist German solo project.

The opening track, "As Shadows Above Nephilim", is the second longest on the album, and uses the fourteen-plus minutes allotted to it to build a slow, ominous atmosphere, interspersed with ethereal shrieks, distortion-heavy riffing and keyboard work reminiscent of early Burzum (although in this case we can all be grateful the artist behind Blackend Horizon isn't a racist douchebag). Lyrically I read it as dealing with the insane willingness to poison and destroy the future out of misguided stupidity in the present - the lines "We gathered the children/We killed our future/We killed ourselves" best conveyed this sense for me. "56°30'09.3"N, 14°42'45.7"E" is much shorter, using a stronger mix of keyboards thrown through the harshness and melancholy of the guitar and vocal work to build a true sense of mournful loss, and the building of slow, depressive madness.

"The Third Week of Autumn" begins with sonorous bass plucking, static- distortion slowly building behind it before launching into a surprisingly gentle melody. Far and away the most depressive and atmospheric track on the album, the lyrics seem to deal with lost love, and a sense of hopelessness toward a future without that love in it. It was listening to this track that really impressed me with the vocals and how they were mixed in, with a hard-struck balance between raw intensity and emotion in the more black metal or crusty sections, without overbearing the ephemeral, ethereal softness the electronic elements lend some of the tracks, such as on the instrumental ambient track "A Parhelions Last Descending".

The final - and longest - song on the album, "Now, I Am Become Death, The Destroyer Of Worlds" opens with similar electronic softness, before making a rough transition to raw, ponderous riffing, and slow, heartrending howls echoing through the mix. The song flows through softer and harder passages, building to a sample of Robert Oppenheimer's comment on the use of atomic bombs in the Trinity tests, where he references the Bhagavad-Gita. The final slow, synthesized notes trail gradually to nothing, a fittingly mournful and understated end to a complex and engaging album. Overall I strongly recommend this and the artist's prior works as fascinating and intriguing pieces of underground artwork.

T.G.

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