Four new NVNM releases to destroy your brains
New Jersey based NVNM (short for Nihil Verum Nisi Mors) are a small collective of likeminded maniacs specializing in the art of riffs, and their power has been steadily growing since their inception in 2016. I previously interviewed one of the three partners running the label here; since then, a mixture of high profile shows (such as gigs with Horna and Mammoth Grinder) and the impending co-release of Siege Column’s debut album with Nuclear War Now! Productions have only pushed them further into the limelight.
Now, NVNM is back with four new demos, and as of the time of this article, three have already sold out of tapes. All four of them are awesome, and you guys should listen to ‘em so you can realize that too. Here they are, listed and described a bit below.
Altar of Gore – Demo
This one-man project (the only solo band of this group of releases), headed by a wizard of destruction credited only as Acolyte of the Foul Ones, represents all of the vile pounding evil of the underground. Do you like being smashed to bloody bits? The cold barking growl of a stalking butcher? A ride cymbal that sounds like a maniac tapping an axe on concrete while stalking towards his victim, eyes full of malicious intent? A bass that sounds like a four hundred pound executioner weaving between victims to the accompaniment of the percussion of the damned?
Those are the things you’re going to get here, so I fucking hope you’re ready for them. Through these five original songs and an Impetigo cover, Altar of Gore alternately crushes and pummels (ie, slowriff vs fastriff) through one of the most vicious demos I’ve ever fucking heard. Some immediate comparisons are the mighty Ride For Revenge and Black Witchery, but I think that the foul Acolyte has really found his own sound here, and even though I’ve been excited about this demo for some time now, it still surprised me with how good it is.
Damnation Lust – Archpriestess of Sathanas
Damnation Lust is a blown out tape on a dark and obscure night. They’re the sound of a primordial time from before the rise of the idea of an icy guitar tone, when drums were frantic chiming under pulsing rhythms that knew what tremolo picking was from Slayer but thought it should be used for no more than a quarter of any given song. Fast metal, slow metal, medium-speed metal- whatever gets across the message of desecration is what works for Damnation Lust, and they do it all. Some of it sounds like Beherit, some of it sounds like Hellhammer, but more importantly, all of it sounds ancient; a crypt has been opened here, and Damnation Lust is what came out.
I can’t praise the production on this enough- it’s as cryptic and dirty as any demo, but it’s not by any means inaudible. You can hear the riffs, you can get smacked down by the drums, and the vocals don’t overpower anything, but it’s still fucking gross sounding in the best of ways. If you want your metal clean, turn away. If you’re scared of the dark, or of the grave, this isn’t the band for you. If you do your cemetery stalking with a Walkman, though, this is an ode to the early days of black metal that has all of the authentic death lust anyone could possibly ask for.
Jaws of Hades – Worship Speed & Death!
Jaws of Hades is SO FUCKING FAST. My idea of good thrash is thrash that’s fast- I feel like that’s where a lot bands get lost trying to make the stuff, but Jaws of Hades remembers the core of the genre, and they shove it down your throat at a thousand miles an hour. Jaws has a mission statement to make their music unmoshable through sheer speed, and while they’d have to play a show somewhere I can make it out to check if they succeeded, they definitely managed to make one of the most raging thrash releases I’ve heard from the last few years.
Even better than just being fast, Jaws of Hades has riffs for days on end. At one point Dark Angel bragged about the sheer amount of riffs in their music, and while Jaws’ influence is significantly more Teutonic (to the point where they even covered my favorite Kreator song for the final track of the demo), they clearly took the same approach to songwriting.
I think that the best part of the demo is the sheer authenticity, which is really the best part of the NVNM projects in general. A lot of modern metal, be it thrash, death metal, or black metal, seems to forget at times its roots; a band that wants to sound like Morbid Angel tends to forget that Morbid Angel was listening to Possessed, Slayer, Venom, and Motörhead rather than time traveling to steal their own riffs, so even as good as that band is, they don’t sound like they were actually there in the ‘80s playing evil metal. Jaws of Hades, for all that it’s playing in a style we’ve heard before, doesn’t sound like some playing thrash in a style that peaked before they’d heard their first riff. Jaws of Hades appreciate their masters, and by doing so, they manage to transcend.
Burial Stone – Lost History
The last demo here is the only one of the run of four tapes that’s left, so if you want to get some NVNM on your boombox, this is your only chance for the new run.
The music here is crawling and monolithic, presenting a wall of ignorant, barbaric death/doom that is absolutely implacable in its filthy onslaught. Churning power chords summon ancient power here in an approach that really does the themes of crystalline mysticism, cruel elder gods, and Atlantean might justice. The songs are long, the music is slow (except when it’s not), and that’s the way Burial Stone like it, and the way you should as well. There’s just enough variety to keep the music from being overly repetitive- a common problem with long-winded death/doom- but not enough to distract from Burial Stone’s single minded goal of slamming everyone around them into the ground. Burial Stone cover its listeners in an avalanche of presumably Atlantean boulders; thanks to a recording job by Aversario, they sound like it, too, and should fit perfectly in any wall of tapes.
As an aside, this demo received a piece from Decibel that has some interviewer questions answered in it for curious fans to read.
All images courtesy of NVNM.