The German band Fiat Nox have already established a prominent place for themselves in the fire-and-ice realms of black metal through the strength of a debut demo (2016’s Light the Torches), and a debut album (The Archive of Nightmares, released in June of this year). Wasting no time, Fiat Nox have now readied a new EP for release by Personal Records on October 1st, and it further elevates the place of Fiat Nox as a band capable of creating marvelously dynamic and multi-faceted music that gets the blood racing with its muscular, hard-charging aggression but also creates wholly enthralling atmosphere through its emotionally powerful melodies.
We’ve previously lavished praise upon the EP, and now have the opportunity to present a stream of it in its entirety. Its entirely fitting title is In Contemptuous Defiance.
The opener “Zealotry of Ruin” is a menacing, swaggering, hard-rocking song, one that brings in ferocious roars along with the savage snarls and gang yells. It feels like werewolves on the prowl, but the band also incorporate streams of chilling supernatural melody to augment the experience, and the wolves attack too — drums battering and galloping and guitars roiling and rising in displays of fierce ecstasy.
Then comes the first single released from the EP, “Amok Hymn“. The fiery and feverish opening riff, which re-surfaces again and again, is immediately addictive. And the song is unrelenting in its heart-pumping power. The hammering propulsive drive, the sinister and savage riffing, and the ravenous intensity of the vocal tirades ensure that. But the song is also a thriller because of its dynamism — from the skull-popping beats and infectious yells to the bubbling bass solo and the sweeping melodic blaze behind it. (We might as well divulge that this track is assured a place on our forthcoming list of 2021’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.)
After “Amok Hymn”, the band unleash untamed mayhem with “Unheiligkeitsklage“, but also send grand waves of bleak, anguished melody coursing over the feverish thrashing riffage, the flickering leads, and the maniacal drumming. The song generates moments of frightening chaos, but closes with music of utmost despair (backed by weird percussive clattering). The wholly immersive power and sweep of the song create an aura of mythic grandeur and mystical peril, to go along with the visceral impact of the band’s turbulent assaults.
These first three songs give listeners no time for reflection or rest. In a way, the EP’s closing song does that — briefly. “Those Shunned Hills” initially spins out a collage of frightening, supernatural ambient sounds as the backdrop for grotesquely distorted spoken words. But at 9 1/2 minutes, this is the EP’s longest song, and as it unfolds, the experiences change, and change again.
Once more the band generate wall-of-sound waves of melody that submerge the listener beneath feelings of hopelessness and fear, as well as surging ahead in barbaric racing attacks. As before, the vocals are unhinged in their ravening viciousness, the drumming is off-the-hook, and the nimble liveliness of the bass has a prominent place in the pulse-pounding war charges. But the drums also vanish, allow the guitars to pull the mood into feelings of abandonment and desolation, before the song consumes the senses again in one final blaze of glorious yet melancholy spectacle.
In short, this is a tremendous EP, one that quickly became a personal favorite among all the shorter black metal releases I’ve heard this year. It took only one listen for that to happen, and further listens have only strengthened that feeling of admiration and enthusiasm.
To repeat, In Contemptuous Defiance will be released by Personal Records on October 1st. It’s available for pre-order now, in CD and digital editions.