Nuclear War Now! Promo Reviews: Infra & Doombringer
Nuclear War Now! Productions is one my my favorite record labels. Because they’re one of the best record labels. They put out almost exclusively rad metal on a consistent basis, and the ladies and gentlemen that work there are incomparably beautiful and handsome respectively, especially the rep(s) in charge of sending the Toilet ov Hell promotional material. The haul they sent us a few weeks back was like a second, less unbearable Christmas for us. The writers and editors rent it apart like a pack of wolves on a fresh carcass, each dragging away their own bloody claim and feeding it to their young. Only their young are actually their ears. Now, as wolves often do, we intend to sit down and write all about our shares on the internet.
INFRA – INITIATION ON THE ORDEALS OF LOWER VIBRATIONS [7″]
Nuclear War Now! Productions – January 15 2015
I don’t have any clue what it means to initiate someone on the ordeals of lower vibrations, but Infra do it all over your face in their new 7″ – the first I’ve ever heard from these Portugalians. Initiations on the Ordeals of Lower Vibrations is like a sulfuric, 2-track belch from the depths of someplace. Someplace deep. Maybe it’s all covered in some unidentified, frothing slime that’s been eons congealing far beyond the reach of the sun down there. Maybe not; I don’t know. I’m not an unplumbed cavern expert. I do know that basking in its putrid effluvium is a pretty good time in a my-skin-is-being-peeled-off-by-sweltering-acidic-fumes sort of way.
First things first, let’s get the obligatory Blasphemy and Incantation comparisons out of the way here – yes, they exist. Of the yawning, chasmal strain of death/black metal they popularized this surely is. Cavernous, atmospheric, etcetera, etcetera. You get the idea. “Communion” starts off with standard isolated bell-tolling before the always satisfying “UGH!” (something they have the brains to continually put to good use) introduces the rolling distortion. Infra prefers to work in the lurching mid-pace like this, excelling at thick, dragging riffs quite reminiscent of the turbid smoke puked out by Grave Miasma.
But it’s not all slow and steady; “Perversion of Sulphur” is centered around variations of a particularly dissonant riff that speeds up considerably about halfway through, and “Communion” has its own moments of high velocity blasting.
Repetition is used frequently and to tremendous effect. Reiterative guitarwork is peppered with strains of Bölzer-like discord, and cyclical drumming spirals in on itself, generating an impious, intoxicating momentum. Put more simply – it’s the sort of riffing to which you find yourself unconsciously headbanging with that expressionless gaze into nothingness that causes bystanders to rightfully question your general soundness as a human being.
At only 13 minutes long, it ends too soon. Still, this little 7″ has me eager to hear what they might do with 45 minutes, which was likely the point. Bring on the full length death! (and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org addressed to Masterpants).
DOOMBRINGER – THE GRAND SABBATH
Nuclear War Now! Productions – October 31 2014
Doombringer is a side-project from former members of kickass Polish black metal band Cultes des Ghoules/current members of kickass Polish war metal band Bestial Raids. Both are well-known and well-liked, so the fact that I missed this one completely last year has me shooting my radar some stern glares of reprimand. Piece of shit. Doombringer have a few demos, an EP, a split, and a compilation under their belts, but The Grand Sabbath is their full-length debut – and it’s a towering monstrosity of black / death metal.
This isn’t a reiteration of one of their previously-mentioned bands or even a marriage of the two; it’s its own execrable act. There are junctures in The Grand Sabbath whereat de Retz / Sadist and Devil’s Kin / Necron betray their identities as members of Bestial Raids, but even Doombringer’s most spastic passages – their most turbulent messes of snarl, guitar, and blast – are more discernible, more deliberate, and more structurally focused. They’re pretty infrequent, too. The majority of this album spotlights a more moderate plod; the allure of the slow-coiling tremolo and the might of the blackened death riff. The central emphasis here is on those monolithic riffs that indiscriminately crush all things into a fine powder. Riffs that simultaneously satisfy the ears and devastate the cervical vertebrae. Massive, lumbering riffs you might hear in something from Ofermod or Ascension.
Everything is shrouded by a nefarious fog of reverberating distortion and the savage ravings of vocalist Old Coffin Spirit (nice). His is an impressive and unsettling vocal spectrum – he snakes back and forth through stock black rasping, slit-throat gurgling, anguished and drawn-out “clean” howls, and warped ritual chants; sometimes layering multiple styles at once for peak revelry in evil (see the second half of “Nocturnal Assembly” and hold on to your pants).
The Grand Sabbath clocks in at a nice 44 minutes – long enough to really pull you in, but not so long that you wish it hadn’t. It doesn’t necessarily tread new ground, but it treads with heavy steps on the shattered corpses ov the pure. And sometimes that’s just as good.