0xist – Nil

0xistNot really sure how much exposure this album received back in 2012, but it was sent in to the PO box a while ago and it proceeded to be consumed by the mess in the Worm Bunker. After cleaning and unearthing this CD with anthropological care/precision, 0xist (Zero-Exist) is here to finally get an opinion scraped across it as I’m trying to catch up with physical submissions these past few weeks. Nil is the first full-length from this crushing Finnish quartet who reside in the heavy side of the dark metal genre classification. Having existed since 2010, producing an EP, a demo and Nil, 0xist obviously approaches their song crafting with care and attention to detail over quantity.

Having heard and liked the 2 song demo, it was interesting to hear how this band has evolved in 2 years. The overall production is mammoth sounding and the first real obvious improvement over older material. Musically, 0xist remain entrenched in plodding, power chord dominant riffs that avoid “groove” for more of a doom laden/mournful affinity for the dreary side of man. 0xist know what they want out of these songs and are very patient songwriters as tracks like Cold Dark Matter creep along at a glacial pace and maintain this for not only this songs entirety, but for a good share of the album. Even though the vibe is crawling, the band are quite proficient in keeping the tracks interesting in their misery with these simplistic, though quite effective harmonies that weep over the detuned progressions to add a deeper dimension to this material. At times I hear a Bethlehem influence which is always a good thing, but for the most part, Nil is 0xist’s own voice by way of decades of metal influence crafted into a bleak 45 minute procession. “Arrival” finds the guitars falling away with piano/synth being the main instrument for a nice change of vibe, but when they come back in, the heaviness speaks volumes in response to the openness of these songs. Along with spoken word segments that do reveal a theatrical side to this band, the vocals are mid-ranged and snarled for a blackened aura to enter the equation, yet every word is discernible and steeped in human misery. Granted the vocal lines tend to follow the riffs a little too closely which is typical for a guitarist who sings, but there is enough fire in the performance to not dwell on this point for too long.

Having stated the patience that must have gone into the creation of this material, it is also fair to state that the listener must exhibit just as much patience to allow the power and emotional pull of Nil to take hold. It may take a spin or 2, but it will eventually win over those of you who find dark metal leaning on the doom side of expression to be your metal sub-genre of choice. 0xist are a damn good and obscure band that I do enjoy when that fleeting moment arises for something slow and gut churning grief. -Marty
Ostra Records

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~ by martyworm on March 5, 2014.

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