May 022023

All things rise and fall, both the animate and the inanimate. Mountains heave up from the Earth’s crust, and erode over time. Flora and fauna flourish much more briefly, but all of it is always doomed to perish. Human life in particular strives, grasping for meaning and some measure of “success”, but humanity’s most vaunted achievements are in fact evanescent, and self-destruction seems deeply rooted. In the arc of all things, there are zeniths, and at the bottom of the trajectory is where you’ll find Nadir.

Nadir is the name chosen by a Norwegian blackened hardcore band whose extravagant debut album we’re presenting today in advance of its May 5 release. Its conception is summed up in the title — Extinction Rituals — and becomes even more clear through the band’s elaboration of what that means:

Extinction Rituals is an exercise in the duality of futility and hope. It is a comment upon the ignorance of man and the inventive way we manage to prey upon each other. Musically, Extinction Rituals sets out to match the lyrical content through blending eclectic sources of inspiration and striving for a harsh and aggressive sound.”

Nadir succeeded in their striving. Paradoxically, they’ve made their dark descent into a zenith of their own.

To be sure, Nadir excel in creating a particularly furious representation of bleakness and despair, well-armed with bone-breaking drum assaults, scathing and slashing riffage, and scalding screams. They are also adept at working in melodies that underscore the hopelessness that lies at the end of the arc.

This is all quite evident in the new album’s first full track “Iron Lung“. There, the drums rumble like an avalanche and chop like an ax. The riffing boils and blares, jolts and cuts. The torment and rage in the vocals is intense. As the music soars, so does the feeling of desperation, and the striking melodic guitar lead (which will sink its roots in the listener’s head) seems to moan and wail in suffering. But rather than succumbing to surrender, there’s fight in the music too.

As the band move from “Iron Lung” into “The Old Wind“, they also display a talent for creating dire and heart-breaking melodies of expansive sweep, and a different talent for inflicting cold-eyed beatings and throwing listeners into an electrifying race. The song beautifully intertwines ingredients of atmospheric black metal from northern climes, panoramic in scope, with episodes of brutish trauma and exhilarating savagery.

That turns out to be a winning combination that causes the remaining songs to stand out as well. Within each individual track, Nadir create sharp changes in mood and momentum. They pull the listener into troughs of crushing despondency (with music that’s damned crushing too), ignite raging bonfires of severe distress and untrammeled fury, and carry the music aloft, sweeping across emotional landscapes of agony and grief. And as they do that, they lodge both rhythmic and melodic hooks in great abundance.

There’s also some beautifully melancholy guitar soloing here and there, as in “Beyond the Shadow of Death“, a song that’s also home to a pulsating riff that makes an electrifying impact, as well as a remarkably dynamic performance by the rhythm section. The drumming in particular is excellent throughout the album, and regularly reaches its own zeniths (“Tenebrae” being an especially stirring example of that).

And this is a point worth underscoring about the album as a whole. While emotional nadirs and philosophies of frustration and disgust provide the through-lines, the songs turn out to be just as viscerally powerful and thrilling as they are downcast, and they do indeed pull from a variety of stylistic influences (including post-metal). They slug damned hard; they’ll pump your neck; they’ll set nerve endings on fire; and those vocals are so explosive and ruined that they become frightening.

Even in tragic spectacles like “I Strid” and the title song, bones will be broken and banners of defiance raised. And when the guitars gloriously ring, you might find signs that not all hope is lost after all.

And with that we’ll leave you to the music itself, and hope you enjoy it as much as we have.



Ole Wik – Guitar and Vocals
Magnus Wiig – Guitar
Jonas Bengtson – Drums
Erik Gullesen – Bass




  1. This is awesome! Thanks!

  2. Damn you write well – great review. Powerful album. Thanks for this!

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