Nefastus Dies
Urban Cancer

Here’s a release that would seem really odd when you look at its  actual parts: a 2 year old symphonic black metal album (originally rleased by Deepsend Records in 2006) from Canada, featuring former Ion issonance vocalist Sébastien Painchaud (going by the far more black metal name of ‘Ill-Fate’ here) as well as at one time having Neuraxis drummer Tommy McKinnon in their ranks, and recorded by Yannick St-Amand and mastered by Alan Douches and released on a primarily deathcore label; hardly the elements for a successful symphonic black metal album.

Yet it works, and works extremely well. Even more so when you dig up that Ill Fate and drummer Scythrawl have considerable experience dabbling in black metal in acts Unquintessence, Ether and Trails of Anguish, the superb end result makes even more sense. So while this is certainly black metal at its very core, with the clinical production and ballistic percussion, you get a sense of Canadian technicality and complexity lurking beneath the shrieks, blast beats and synths, making for an incredibly dynamic album of symphonic yet nasty black metal that never feels like traditional black metal. To say it sort of sounds like Neuraxis, Beneath the Massacre or Ion Dissonance playing a mix of early Cradle of Filth, Dark Funeral and ArthemesiA would not be a stretch.

A swirling, vortex of blasting, scathing melodic riffs is at the heart of the album, while the synths of Iraabbas play a lesser but integral part in giving everything an epic sense of atmosphere and regal majesty without being too superfluous or orchestral. Vocally, Ill Fate is a bit of a weak link and he sounds like he is shrieking/growling with a mouth full of nuts and bolts resulting in almost every word having the same cadence and sound, but, truthfully it’s the riffs that drive this record. Each track is a rock solid, lengthy number that commands your attention; the closing few minutes of “Hate Vector” and “The Irony Of Anti-Establishment Ideologies” are just perfect examples of blistering, vitriolic melody while “None of the Above” and “Cost Effective Mergers” show the band’s more restrained, atmospheric side without being too soft.

Ultimately, Urban Cancer is a damn good record whose whole is way more than its parts and shows that Canadian musicians, no matter what the genre, excel at whatever style of music they wish.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
June 18th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: Kyle

    I thought the vocals were nothing but the word die and it ruined the whole album for me. I found it odd since he was much better on the Prelude demo.


  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Ahhh- i remember someone saying that but was too lazy to research who and didnt want to copy it, but yeah you are right


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