Nephesh
Inter Armas Silent Leges

Though Christianity as elbowed its way into previously untouchable genres of music, black metal despite a few attempts (Lo-Ruhamah, Frost Like Ashes, Admonish, Horde, Crimson Moonlight, etc) has generally resisted ‘unblack’ metal Christian interjections.

So how about some Christian, symphonic black metal from the depths of Colombia released on a brand new indie label based in Wisconsin?

Didn’t think that would get you too excited, but truthfully, the debut from Nephesh, regardless of religious leanings, is a pretty decent stab at early Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth styled black metal (circa Stormblast and The Principle of Evil Made Flesh respectively). And actually, even with sweeping, orchestration, its pretty raw and even a little menacing with a more gritty tone as opposed to the over polished nature of most of their stylistic peers (Sothis, Abigail Williams, Carach Angren, etc).

With structures that range from pomp laden blast beats and grizzled mid range marches, all littered with sweeping, stirring intros (“Vae Victus, “Symphony of War”) and segments of cinematic grandiosity and a wide array of vocal screeches, croaks and growls (and a coupl of clean croons), Nephesh have all of the tenets of symphonic black metal down pat. The song writing is pretty decent and the moods are appropriate as the likes “Sangre Immortal”, “Tormentor of Sins”, “Psalmorum”, the nearly 9 minute standout “Sentence Darkness” and short symphonic, choral blast of the title track all deliver quality dramatics.

Of course, the sticking point will be the Christian themes, which I’ll admit don’t really jump out at you are there no fruity prayers or hymnals, and if you didn’t know and just hit play on the CD player, you’d be none the wiser, thinking you were listening to some Christ hating act from Sweden rather than a bunch of South American Christians. And that’s somewhat of a testament to the bands grasp of the actual genre and its dynamics as Nephesh seem to come across as a competent symphonic black emtal band who happen to be Christians rather than a group of Christians simpy trying their hand a black metal.

Of course, if you dont care for Dimmu, Cradle and their ilk, Nephesh’s religious leanings won’t really matter, but if you are a more open minded fan of symphonic black metal you could do far worse than Nephesh, regardless of lyrical themes.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
December 4th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I like it, captures that late 90s nostalgia pretty well.

    don’t forget Extol was a progressive black metal act on their first release (Burial) before the went progressive death (and then transformed yet again into something else).


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    whoops the clean vox leave something to be desired


  3. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Luckily, those clean vox only pop up two or three times in the whole album


  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    they’re not Limbonic Art bad, but they’re a far cry frmo Simen Hestnaes too


  5. Commented by: Dethlord

    For the black metal that we Christian have done your miss a lot there are of what i have in my collection total at 76 Bands. For a few to name there is Morun in Silence, Antestor, Kekal, Nattlesorg, Elgibbor, Firethorn and Parakletos just to name a few. And for Extol they were a Death Metal and they started to lean toward Black Metal at the End of their career. For Nephesh i love their music and i can’t wait for their next album.


  6. Commented by: Wintersoul – Frozen Storm Apocalypse « Teeth of the Divine

    […] the last CD I heard from Wisconsin’s Nokternal Hemizphear Records was a symphonic Christian black metal from Columbia―which ended up being pretty good―I was eager to hear how the label’s next offering, the debut […]


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