Album: Imprisoned Eternal
Nihilists don’t tend to congregate—it’s simply the nature of their lack of belief in…well, just about anything, really. The truly nihilistic act with a manner of manic-depressive behavior—a wonton, unpredictable disregard for human life or the emotions of others; after all, nothing really matters. Behind their cruel façade and forced aggression towards anyone in arm’s reach, they’re somber, with little will to care for others or about their peers. They live in a world akin to a cage—locked away on their own, and, honestly, it might even be better that way. This bizarre mental and emotional dynamic of derisive negativity and depressive quarantine is captured brilliantly by brooding dark hardcore outfit, Nihility, and their 2017 full-length album Imprisoned Eternal. Hailing from the United Kingdom and capturing the drizzly, dreary atmosphere of a rain-soaked British fall, Nihility combine monstrous metallic riffs with harsh, hectic hardcore influences and looming, doom-laden ethereality in a fashion that truly fits the band’s name to a tee. The very sound of nihilism itself, Imprisoned Eternal is an eviscerating release that is ruthless and raunchy one moment, while thick, suffocating and sinister the next.
A bleak and brutalizing amalgamation of atmosphere and intense, riff-driven and blistering aggression. Percussionist Josh Williams defines this from the very beginning of “Breath of War,” where his bright, clanging ride bell and beefy kick drum contrast against the skin-peeling cut of his snare drum to kick off Imprisoned Eternal in righteous, ruthless glory. Williams’ percussion hits home with slam-tinted, metallic staples like those patterns abundant in “Breath of War” or “Revelations of Betrayal,” however he also is more than adept at capturing haunting atmosphere and wide, sprawling ambience on songs like “Morbid Aberrations” and “To Bleed for Conviction,” the album’s two lengthier numbers. Here, Williams works with bassist Jonny Pipes to create low, groovy intensity that forms a straightforward and sinister foundation only to erupt into simply huge, heavily doom-influenced segments wherein Pipes’ bass lingers low and smoothly over Williams’ spacious and steady percussion. The duo continue in this fashion through much of Imprisoned Eternal, combining speed and groove against eerie ethereality or eviscerating brutality—especially when in the context of the excellent riffs and incredible variety brought forth by Harley Maryon and Larry Statts. Maryon and Statts take the diversity of Williams’ percussion and thick, beefy bass lines from Pipes and add even more to them. This is evident in “Morbid Aberrations,” where the duo start the first portion of the track in riveting and intense fashion, only to drop into a more gloomy and dull form of heaviness; the sort thst feels as if it weighs upon the listener’s entire soul. This is sharply contrasted with “Breath of War” or “Wretched Compulsion”–hell, even “Condemned to Exist”–which are straight-up slaughterhouse cuts, gritty, gory and gruesome from start to finish in the best way imaginable. Capturing blackening, brutality, despair and devastation all on their fretboards without skipping a beat, Maryon and Statts’ skills help carve out a unique niche for Nihility’s never-ending heaviness.
To speak of never-ending heaviness, however, is to speak of the vicious vocal efforts of frontman Josh Gibbons. Dominating with everything from low, throat-blistering growls to the rare piercing shriek and an abundance of rough, raw mid-range roars, Gibbons’ vocals are as bleak and nihilistic as one would expect given the band’s name and his raw and ruthless soundscape. From “Breath of War,” Gibbons establishes himself as a vocalist capable of telling marvelous stories and conveying a metric ton of intensity through his voice and lyrics; and that’s exactly what he proceeds to do during the entirety of Imprisoned Eternal. With every song more eviscerating than the last, Gibbons fills even the lengthier numbers with vocal excellence—and on many tracks, goes so far as to channel his passion for crossover and thrash with metallic, harshly sung segments. Songs like “To Bleed for Conviction,” or “Morbid Aberrations” seem to capture the fullest extent of Gibbons’ diversity and endurance—with the former being an epic and mammoth track and the latter a whirlwind of skin-flaying malevolence. Where many flinch at the thought of a metallic hardcore act with “clean” vocals, Gibbons’ are tastefully done—adding variety and emotion to songs without sacrificing aggression or heaviness.
Bleak, brutal, blistering and bold for its entirety, Imprisoned Eternal is another one of 2017’s seemingly endless must-hear records. With riffs, grooves, slams and breakdowns aplenty, fans of any style of heavy music will find themselves beyond pleased, bordering on overwhelmed by the sheer volume and variety abundant on its moderate thirty-five minute run time. In short, Nihility are devilish and devastating in more ways than can be easily described—making Imprisoned Eternal a series of songs you have to condemn yourself to in order to truly understand its total appeal.
For Fans Of: Malevolence, Get the Shot, Desolated, Abhorrent Decimation
By: Connor Welsh