As a species, we are naturally fatalistic. For as long as we have been sentient enough to contemplate anything beyond our most basic desires, man has pondered when it all might end. At first it was only nature to be feared. Possessing as it does, the ultimate power; that having given us life, could remove it. Then we grew tall in our minds and devised methods of our own destruction. Will our industries melt the ice caps- causing great floods to overwhelm the land? Will nuclear war render the earth uninhabitable? Or will secret scientists imbue the dead with more power than the living, rendering life itself an obsolete commodity?
It is this question that Nexilva have chosen to wrestle with on their new album Eschatologies. Exploring a different method of humanity’s Earthly demise in each of its 14 tracks.
Right from the outset, they ask for no quarter and none is given. Unremittingly fast and heavy, each track punctuated by dazzling blasts of skill and rage from every instrument.
Considering the deathcore heritage of this band there is a purity to the progressiveness of their Death Metal that I did not expect. Bringing to mind bands such as Fallujah and Inferi, Nexilva’s latest collection surges forward with unrelenting momentum. With more attack than an acid avalanche, they repeatedly pierced the veil of my presumption with the searching, complex brutality of their approach.
Pizzicato melodies dance like evil spirits energised by malevolent peals of Death metal thunder. Their playing is blisteringly fast. Suffuse with a muscular technicality that has savagery very much at its heart.
Breakdowns are minimal, instead they seek to relentlessly plunge you into their heart of apocalyptic darkness. Listening to this album is much like being strapped into the most perilous roller-coaster; you know it won’t kill you but everything you are experiencing tells you otherwise.
Even though they have chosen to avoid the somewhat clichéd notion of the crab-stanced breakdown, they control and manipulate the pacing and structure of the songs with thoughtful and manipulative intelligence. Using tempo and time changes to ratchet up the feelings of dread and foreboding that would truly come with any kind of extinction level event.
When this is combined with the subtle but menacing use of ambient and spectral background sounds the effect is petrifying and enthralling. For me, Atmosphere is key in metal; your music can be imperfect but control the unstoppable creep of dread and menace of your album and you control your audience. Nexilva achievement on this front is absolute; with the double whammy of music sharpened to destructive perfection and an almost Hitchcockian control of tone and ambiance.
This is a densely constructed record. Songs reveal themselves in their intricate construction over repeated listens. Like the blackest of roses slowly opening. Deceptively delicate melodies infiltrating their way into your mind, as the muscular syncopation and sheer speed of rhythms take ownership of your muscles.
The Vocals are every bit as fulsome as the music. They roar, fry and rasp over the music creating a sense of anger, fear and belligerence. Deftly combining technique and power to communicate the sheer breadth of apocalyptic sentiment.
To me everything is better with 5% black metal and Eschatologies is another entry in my growing list of proofs. With appropriate subtlety and candour without conscience they have moulded a technicality filled album of blackened, progressive death metal. Plague Metal of the highest order. And just like the Plague: come into any contact with it and you’ll be infected. Its that good!
They have taken the best qualities from multiple genres of extreme metal and melted them together, combining subject and structure into fearsome weaponry to bludgeon the ears of the listener into an inevitable but gleeful submission.
I sometimes like to contemplate, that if I owned a nuclear bunker; a bolt hole into which I’d escape to await the end times, just which albums I’d choose to take with me. This album has defiantly made it onto the soundtrack of my personal Armageddon.
Just like the waters of the great and final deluge, Nexlivas star is rising.
– John Whitmore