Label: Sludgelord Records
To be sucked in by a record upon first listen is an increasingly rare experience; as more and more records are released, and more sonic avenues explored, it can be harder for bands to record music that has that instant “wow!” factor, that feels novel and convincing from the first moment. Yet that’s what Nest have achieved with Metempsychosis. The duo have crafted an album of unremittingly bleak, soul-crushingly heavy blackened sludge that it’s hard not to be captivated by it from the moment you press play, letting the album run riot on your soul for its duration; but such is the strength of its corruption that the taint will linger long after the album has finished. Even in a world that has recently seen strong albums from bands like Primitive Man and Cult of Occult, this is pretty special.
Once the shortest of introductory tracks is over with, ‘The Cowardice and Rashness of Courage’ throws the listener in at the deep end, where they are left to sink or swim in tar-thick riffs, crushing drums, and vocals powered by the deepest of sorrows and hates. It sets the tone of the album perfectly; a touch faster than most sludge, perhaps, but the guitars are drenched in that dirty, corrosive weight that defines the genre at its best, and all carried forward by a sense of nihilism and violence that cannot be faked. It is an album that is sure to leave an impression on the soul, with its dark tendrils taking hold of something deep inside of the listener and refusing to let go.
Part of what makes Metempsychosis so effective is that it’s not solely built upon weight and volume, though. There are spacious, almost post-metal moments built in to many of these songs, that add a much-needed sense of contrast, making the heaviness all that more effective. The slow, graceful opening to ‘Diving by the Entrails of Sheep’, for example, gives the track a taught tension and anxiety that it would otherwise lack, and makes the thick, suffocating guitars have more of an impact than they otherwise would. It demonstrates an intelligence about the song-writing, adding extra elements to the album that are vital to its success, without ever losing sight of the goal – catharsis through extremity.
Catharsis is what Metempsychosis offers in abundance. Albums as extreme as this can sometimes become an exercise in nothing but negativity, blocking out all light and leaving the listener feeling even worse than before they started the album. Yet Metempsychosis has that much-needed sense of release, of its creators battling their demons through the creation of music, and the almost physical feeling of release that can bring. Combined with the (relatively, for extreme sludge) varied song-writing, and sheer quality of the riffs on offer, it makes Metempsychosis an album that is instantly gripping, with overt rewards, yet one that also encourages repeat listens. Whether you need something that sounds like a world collapsing in to hate and decay; or something to sympathise with your dour mood at the end of another dreary day, Metempsychosis is hard to beat.
Metempsychosis is due for release on 2 March 2018. It can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp.