I normally do not care whenever someone talks about this record or that release being “A sure bet for AOTY!” in my online feed, but last Friday there were literally a dozen of people who said that about a record that had dropped that very same day – Nightmarer’s second full-length called ”Deformity Adrift”. A dozen people on release day? Okay, had to check it out and have to admit that it is indeed amazing!
The band took their time after their first-length – but not because of problems with their songwriting, but with all those little details in between – recording, mixing and mastering, getting the vinyl ready so that in the end it took them five years for this second full-length (they gave us an EP in between, mind you).
Something that becomes pretty obvious pretty fast is the surplus of atmosphere and less of brutal straightforwarded-ness – already the opener ”Brutalist Imperator” shows that. In the middle of all the attacks on ears and minds the band gives us some small, but highly effective pauses that are filled with some more winding noisey in the background. Generally it becomes quite clear with a few spins that this record has a bit more mid-tempo passages than the earlier songs, which shall not in any way imply a lack of blastbeats, they are still there but they are seemingly a bit more intertwined with well-set pauses. ”Suffering beyond Death” and its highly atmospheric middle passage should clarify what I mean: a lot of melancholic moody parts are intertwined with harsh elements. Drummer Paul proves once again that he is one of the best in the game with all the little details that he adds to it and sometimes it cannot be measured in any way but it’s simply there in the way he makes use of the bass drum and the toms: Even though it is pretty fast, it has a certain warmth to it that is not that common nowadays.
One of the highlights follows directly: ”Taufbefehl” which is a prime example of how Simon writes his songs – often with a certain word or title in mind. This track is maybe the most progressive step forward as it has a very dark, very Post-Punkish and nearly Avantgarde kind of sound. The vocals are delivered by two members of German Noise-Metallers Valborg, some of the noises are brought to the table by Eeli Helin, the Jack of all trades behind Fawn Limbs and many other projects. The track is pumping its blood through darkened veins and some of the lyrics are close to the dadaist movement - ”Taufbefehl” surely shows Nightmarer at their best. That the band doesn’t refrain from a certain industrial element which shows in the somewhat cleanliness of their songs – surely another step in the right direction. This record is to me more Killing Joke or Godflesh than let’s say Pyrrhon or Blood Incantation and that shows especially in the last song, ”Obliterated Shrine”. Here we have nearly no Tech Death elements but quite a bit of dissonance in tiny doses.
Deformity Adrift is surely an important step in Nightmarer’s development. The band has embraced and added a new shade of black to add to their already amazing skill-set to create an ever moodier, more atmospheric version of themselves. Maybe the Dissonant Death Metal release of the year so far; sometimes people can be right…