Released: 2005, Earache Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
Perhaps one of the most brutal and creative death metal albums to come out this year, Nihilistic Contentment is a ravenous winner, ready to do you in, and a sinister bastard of an album, ready to tie you to the tracks as it twirls its villain mustache. This is really what I think of when I think of “Blackened Death.” I think of chicken, too---but that’s for totally unrelated reasons.
With song titles like “The Human Rape Symphony” and “Swamp Of Decadence,” you really can’t go wrong; although, the opening cut, “Flesh Havoc,” is the real standout. It would be accurate to say it represents an overall statement of intent, and symbol of the band’s capabilities. If you fail to appreciate its brutal aural brainrape, you’re just not going to like this disc at all.
The cover art is deceptive—maybe it means something in Europe. Ignore it—this rocks; seriously, this is the best non-melodic Death Metal album yet released in 2005. (Hurry up, Machetazo!).
Drummer Reno (formerly of Dimmu Borgir, official farm-team for the rest of the Black Metal scene) is an inhuman powerhouse. The man sounds like a machine, and a well-oiled one at that (wait—that doesn’t sound right, does it? Arrghh!! My eyes!). The guitars are up-front, and we like that. The vocals are somewhat varied, from growl to shriek to just sort of a general huffing-and-puffing-with-menace sort of thing.
Traditional Black Metal influences shine through in “Bitter Disciplin,” with a smattering and splattering of Florida Death Metal to round it out. “The Human Rape Symphony” is appropriately vicious (it’s be really fucking sad if it wasn’t…); it’s easily as heavy as anything by Kataklysm, in that swirling chaos sort of way. “Black Walls Of Misery” takes me back to the good old days of Death Metal---I’m reminded a bit of When The Sky Turns Black-era Brutality, but with that blackened aura to it. “Division Of Genocide Pleasure” is more standard fare—it goes for more of the classic Swedish (Sunlight Studios era) sound (the band are from Denmark, though).
A word should be said about the above-par production: well, its…um…above par. The sharpness and precision of the riffing has been sorely missing from the scene in the last several years or so; if you’re fucking sick of bands who tune way down, this might be your release. Admittedly, this is for dedicated Death Metal fans only—the sort of people who buy Vomitory and Zyklon records, and can pronounce “Myrkskog” and “Tchort” correctly on the first try.
While this band has been cranking out records for years, this is their proper Earache debut. Brutal Death fans should show Earache that they’ve made a good decision; buy it.