[4th March 2014]
[Ghost Music/Subliminal Groove Records]
01. I: Teste Humanitatem Mori
02. The Misdirection of God
03. Our Progenitor
04. This Is Humanity
05. II: Scientaia Tenebris
07. The Collapse
09. Cybernetic Lucidity
10. III: Ckenet
11. Premonitions (ft. Ricky Lee Roper)
13. Evil Will Prevail (ft. Meyrick De La Fuente)
14. IV: Non Magis Adrogantiam
Every few years we are witness to pivotal milestones that capture the moments of transcendence. Whether in science and technology or art and music, a progression in the skill and style of a few individuals leap frog the masses and ascend to new levels. Nexilva, on a path to higher ground have released Eschatologies, which sees the Sunderland-based youngsters verging of this next evolutionary step.
It makes a strange first impression, then, that the band opt to include intro “I: Teste Humanitatem Mori“, which begins with the electronic whistles of wind instruments being enveloped in a clean guitar tone. It serves to broaden the depth in sound, but lacks in any impact as, when the distortion kicks in, the band jump into slightly chugged out synthy deathcore, and it makes for an awkward start; it’s a curve ball thrown into the works that doesn’t represent what is to come.
“The Misdirection of God” starts the album proper, and we get a blastbeat reminiscent of The Black Dahlia Murder and screams that hark back to the shrieks of Viatrophy‘s Adam Mayes. The scale rises epically as guitars descend into blackened riffs and the atmospherics of a synthy string section. Demonstrating their capabilities after a somewhat poor intro, they blur the lines of extreme metal, combining a healthy set of influences which are executed with instrumental mastery. Relentlessly, they leave no pause between this song and “Progenitor“; the music flows as one continuous piece, giving the listener no rest.
The title track – which also serves as the album’s lead single – features this impressive technical prowess in spades, yet the guttural shrieks from vocalist Gary King are something of a barrage and we find him cluttering the music somewhat; not allowing the instruments space until the end of the track his delivery becomes slightly monotonous. Although this could be seen as an attempt from the band to fully suffocate and bombard the listener, a requirement for dynamics is much needed to allow time to breathe. Eschatologies does feature instrumental sections and we see a dark collection of symphonies merge into looped drum patterns, pointing to capabilities that extend out of the albums normal frequencies, and it’s moments like these that captivate a band that are very much on the cusp of something more.
With an ever-changing value in production ethics, it is disappointing that the group rely heavily on triggered sounding drums and a muffled snare is buried deep in the mix. This leaves the album with a one-dimensional feel and in addition, the guitar tone is so ridiculously low end it lacks any distinction. Without the presence of organic rawness, Nexilva fail in marking their identity and ultimately the band’s aggression sounds watered down.
In order to further the boundaries that confine a genre, they need to be tested and it is clear Nexilva do this with plenty of spirit and enthusiasm. Death metal, constantly being pushed to its limits – from the experimental sounds of UKDM mob Ageless Oblivion to the blackened nightmarish punishment of Behemoth - it is a genre that still has a lot of strength left. Nexilva’s third full release sees them only at the beginning of finding something genre-defining and demonstrates they aren’t afraid of taking risks. Eschatologies is a cornerstone for the band’s career as they close in on something truly remarkable.