The first full-length album of the Icelandic band Nexion is a union of literary, visual, and musical art that makes a striking impression. In all those respects, the artists have aimed high, and they’ve achieved their integrated visions in unusually impressive fashion.
The album is Seven Oracles, and it will be released by Avantgarde Music on June 20th (the Summer Solstice). On the cover is a rendering of a seven-headed beast, each one representing an oracle, each one with its own message and its own song. The messages are revealed in powerful lyrics, which are beautifully displayed through hand-crafted calligraphy in the 16-page booklet accompanying the record, each page further illustrated by the hand of Jose Gabriel Alegría Sabogal, who created all the album art and the calligraphy.
These seven messages and the music accompanying them are all connected, and we’ll come back to that subject before we leave you. But first we’re honored to premiere one of the seven oracular messages from the album, a song named “Revelation of Unbeing“.
Photo by Void Revelations
For this song Nexion take as their texts the King James’ versions of Revelation 4:8-11 and 5:9-10, which offer praise and honor to a living god, and then proceed to eloquently rebuke and vehemently disavow the claims therein, in the same old English vernacular.
In the song, the lyrics are delivered with fire and fury, preceded by an extended scream that sends shivers down the spine and by pealing dissonant guitars and maniacal drum battering. As the pace of the drumming abates, those unnerving guitar tones and the vocalist’s malevolent roars create a poisonous and oppressive atmosphere. The music elevates and shines, and then becomes a boiling fury that spears the mind like a bolt of flame as the vocals vent frightening madness.
The song is relentlessly intense. The drums boom like cannons and militaristically hammer; the chords blare like apocalyptic fanfares and race in savage tremolo’d assaults that come in waves; the vocals remain completely unhinged in their paroxysms of vitriol; the music creates moods of abject hopelessness and world-ending derangement. It might not go too far to say that this sonic scourge reaches heights of grandeur, but it is a terrifying eminence that’s being revealed.
As revealed through this song (and others), compared to the music of some other Icelandic black metal bands Nexion‘s sound is more scathing, more brutal, and seemingly more saturated in nihilism and malevolence. Yet it also succeeds in creating chilling, otherworldly sensations of shattering emotional power, in keeping with the album’s overarching themes.
Now let’s return to the concept of the album as a whole, described by Avantgarde Music (and likely with input by Nexion) as follows:
“The nature of existence, and human value and meaning are central themes in every religion, every spirituality, and countless philosophies. It is thus fitting that Nexion’s new work concerns itself with these subjects. Seven Oracles is a revelatory “Proclamation” of mythic proportions.
“The album cover portrays a seven headed beast appearing before a figure who offers it up a libation in exchange for wisdom within a self-conflating world. Each of the beast’s heads is its own oracle. Its own song. Its own message for the receiver. Three of the heads, the wolf, the lion, and the hound, are derived from occult medieval depictions of the past, present and future, whose merged voices know no higher authority.
“Each oracle addresses the nature of existence from a different angle, revealing and tearing away upheld ‘truths’ like the serpent who gnaws the roots of Yggdrasil. Each song is a dagger, each chord is poison, and each utterance is fire, destroying the receiver’s sense of existential belief, until there is nothing left. At last, in the final song, ‘The Last Messiah’, named in honor of the Norwegian philosopher, Peter Wessel Zapffe, Nexion’s eschatological solution to replace all others is revealed in all of its terrible beauty.”
Seven Oracles was mixed and mastered by Stephen Lockhart at Studio Emissary in Iceland. Avantgarde Music will release it in variant LP vinyl editions (grey marble and orange) and on CD, with merch bundles available, as well as digitally. All of the formats will come with the hand-illustrated 16-page booklet described above.
Pre-orders are being accepted now via the links below. And after the links you’ll find a stream of the lyric video for the previously released song, “The Spirit of Black Breath“, which reveals other aspects of Nexion‘s vision, including both the creation of a nightmarishly hallucinatory atmosphere and the use of solemn, chant-like vocals — as well as the deliverance of apocalyptic power and blood-freezing dissonance.