It’s almost the end of 2014, with only two days to go before this year fades to memory and we look upon 2015 through a hungover haze, I find time to pen a final review to finish up what has been a hell of a year.
Swedish doomsters Nangilima were a complete unknown to me before I picked up this record, you know what though? I’m glad I did.
It seems doom is the ‘in thing’ at the moment, with more and more bands fighting for less and less attention from the public. It is truly refreshing to find a band who not only play a brand of doom that feels fresh but represents its heritage perfectly. A well constructed blend of funeral riffery akin to the likes of My Dying Bride that although it happens to be crushing, it still finds enough breathing space for some melody.
Chemin Vers le Néant is our intro track, translated from the French it means Road to Nowhere and that is exactly the feeling you get when listening to the origins of this album. Its piano strikes hit a discordant ominous stalk that is slowly slithering into something much darker. Whilst remaining completely instrumental this track fills all of the available space with a repetitive drone. This feeling of uncertainty is driven home by the opening notes of Stain of a Broken Life. A wrecking ball of a riff carried on symphonic wings that only seek to enhance the demonic power of the vocals. This creeping death feels like an ancient evil, a force unleashed that hunts and maims.
Crimson Shroud feels different yet again, this feels faster. Its focus rests on vocals this time. The kick drum tone maybe kind of off-putting but if that is the only flaw, then we’re on a winner, right? Onwards and into The Link Of Reminiscence. Slow and brooding this track feels like a Mummer’s lament. It reeks of loss and of things once whole. It carries an almost marching beat when it sets off, these intervals are only intermittent but they’re powerful. A spoken word elegy further reinforces the sense of loss and death. But this is used cleverly and its potency only aids the depth of the song writing. The title track feels ceremonious and bigger still. This is a case of saving the best for last.
The outro almost echoes the intro, it further enforces the textures that can be achieved by merging heavy metal and classical. These layered piano sections feel starkly melancholic but at the same time it feels like the crepuscular rays that follow the rain. I can’t help but feel that this is one of the most beautiful outros I’ve heard in recent times.
This is the début full length from a band that I’m sure have their best days ahead of them. Their intricate blend of power, melody and sheer brutality make this sometimes stale genre feel fresh and exciting again.
Slow and creepy will always get my vote and I can’t help but be excited for what is to come from Nangilima.