Nexul’s new album, Scythed Wings of Poisonous Decay, is not for the faint of heart. It’s a shock-and-awe campaign of terrifying blackened death metal that seems thoroughly devoted to ruining minds and bodies through typhoon assaults of unhinged violence intertwined with nuances of horrific dread and paralyzing misery. The fear factor of the music is through the roof, and so is the raw, abrasive, punishing quality of the sound.
But as you’ll also discover if you choose to run this gauntlet, the songs are more carefully calculated than you might expect from what you’ve just read, and more attuned to the elaboration of unearthly atmosphere in the midst of sonic atrocities.
And running this gauntlet from start to finish is just what we’re giving you the opportunity to do today, through our premiere of a full album stream in advance of its December 4 release by Iron Bonehead Productions on CD and 12″ vinyl.
You might see references to Scythed Wings of Poisonous Decay as an EP, but it’s a 9-track affair lasting more than 36 minutes, so we’ll be calling it an album. It was written by these Texan terrorists “in dedication to Samael as the Angel of Death, a journey beyond the highest heavens to the deepest Abyss in genuflection of all powers of Downfall and Demise”. And as that quote from the band suggests, the palpable feeling of infernal eminence in the music is one more perhaps unexpected ingredient in attacks of such feral, ravaging power.
Nexul set the stage in chilling fashion with opener “Thy Terror“, a composite of eerie wailing ambience, distant ritual drums, gruesome guttural chants, and ominous spoken words — and then they open wide the gates of hell with “Reflected in Glaring Eyes“, a cavalcade of shrieking guitars and cruel, hammering chords that transforms into a melee of clattering snare, horrific roars, and maniacal vibrating riffs whose mauling levels of distortion strike with sandblasting power. When Nexul briefly restrain the savagery of their attack, abject misery oozes from the melody along with the pain of razored flesh.
As the album’s longest track, “Reflected…” provides the most expansive display of Nexul’s terrifying dynamism. As they push and pull the song’s energy, dragging the atmosphere into charnal pits of despair and sending it blazing into episodes of vicious, mind-mutilating delirium, they fully prove just how simultaneously frightening and exhilarating their music can become, while also shrouding the experience with a feeling of horrible majesty.
Yet their dynamism isn’t limited to that song. “Partitioned by Severity” is another prime example. The sharp tone of the clattering snare creates a good contrast with the roiling, gravel-chewing immensity of the riffage, as does the bizarre shrieking sound of the freakish leads. Speaking of freakish, the hideous roars and howls that pass for vocals are again thoroughly crazed. In fact, the whole song is crazed, and ruinous in a very good way, right up to the gruesome miasma of musical misery that ushers the track to a close.
In “He that Takes the Soul” rapidly rippling organ tones and grandiose chords further magnify the album’s atmosphere of Luciferian eminence and crushing oppressiveness, while the song’s extended guitar solo straddles a quivering line between shattering pain and insane ecstasy, and the closing melody radiates a grief beyond bearing.
Nexul shift gears with the instrumental piece “Returns Nothing To Naught“, which combines ringing piano keys and brooding symphonic waves to again draw out the album’s elements of gothic horror. And then once more they set loose the whirlwind through the raging violence of “M.S.R“, which is augmented by tormented howls of mind-splintering intensity, followed by the earthshaking torment and soul-stifling bleakness of “T.M.I.P.L“, which mercilessly pounds, sickeningly writhes, and erupts in severe spasms of percussive mayhem.
For their penultimate offering, “N.X.L.Z.F.R “, Nexul give free reign to the wild exuberance of their sound, whirling and storming with abandon — the vocalist barking like a demon mastiff, the drummer doing his damnedest to beat the listeners’ skulls into pulp, the riffs clawing in a rabid frenzy, and the leads searing in their shrill rapture.
The band complete the album’s macabre tapestry of demonic cruelty and murderous lunacy with the gut-churning, spine-smashing rampage of “Raped by Demons / Luziferion“, whose dense, roiling riffs, blood-freezing screams, and berserker soloing leave no doubt that Nexul care nothing for mercy and have dedicated themselves unflinchingly to slaughter.
And with that, we invite you to steel yourselves and begin running the gauntlet….
PHYSICAL EDITIONS ON RELEASE DATE: