Released: 2005, Suffering Jesus
Not being very up to date in my black metal many bands have slipped past me, even ones from my home country. So, of course a recent release from a band that came and went before I’d even gotten into black metal, not to mention from a neighbouring province, piqued my interest some. Nirnaeth Arnoediad formed in 1997 and found themselves releasing scant recordings during the 4 year period they were active, 2 demos seeing the light of day via the HOLOCAUST release but the band was put to rest soon after. 2005 saw a new self-titled compilation out from Suffering Jesus.
The only real background knowledge I have of Nirnaeth Arnoediad is via Morder who is the man behind Beyond the Ninth Wave (whom are also reviewed this month). Musically there seems to be a pretty big tie between Nirnaeth Arnoediad and Beyond the Ninth Wave though the depressing atmosphere doesn’t feel as thickly layed on here. The unfortunately problem with this release though, at least for me, and I’m sure it will be a problem for others, is that with such a drastic difference in production from song to song, it really does hurt a continuous listening experience. This is why I tend not to get involved with compilation releases, rarities discs, or greatest hits packages. Though despite this, I’m sure many will find something to enjoy about Nirnaeth Arnoediad final epitaph.
The album opens with two tracks from THE INTERNAL HOLOCAST demo from 1998. Both “Tears of Ice” and “Nirnaeth Arnoediad” serve well to give new fans a taste of the band’s sound in its cleanest form (the production deteriorates as the album moves forward). Both songs serve their purpose, “Tears of Ice” being much more abrasive yet displaying an interesting melody through the guitar work in its up tempo sections with some interesting lead guitar showing up shortly at 3:45. Though the song does move and progress through its over 8 minute journey. The band’s self-titled song opens up much slower, with an almost droning style opening and much of the guitar’s presence being drawn out in an all consuming fuzz which can make the song a challenging listen especially when the pace picks up. For tracks 3, 4, and 6, the recording quality takes a steady drop as “The Battle of the Pellenor Field”, “Twilight”, and “…And None Shall Live” are taken from 1998 rehearsals, because of this, the sound is not very full and feels incredibly compressed. The songs still aren’t unlistenable, but I admit to having a hard time coming to terms with the sound as I find it to take away from the music, I would think this would be more for those who are already Nirnaeth Arnoediad fans.
“The Infernal Truth” is an interesting song as it comes from an unreleased demo from 1998. The vocals don’t have as much echo to them as the demo and rehearsal tracks, becoming much more discernible yet making them sound much more crazed. This one might be my pick for best of the bunch on the disc… The final Nirnaeth Arnoediad track on the album is live recording of “Tears of Ice” from 1999 and it definitely sounds like a low quality bootleg with tape clicking and all. The final four songs were written by the pre- Nirnaeth Arnoediad band, Berserker, yet the band found themselves re-recording these old Berserker tracks in 2001. These last four songs are much more visceral and aggressive than Nirnaeth Arnoediad, maybe even taking a hint from death metal.
While Nirnaeth Arnoediad’s new compilation may not be my cup of tea, this does serve well as a last testament of a band that went, as far as I know, completely unnoticed.