By Nathanas Trismegistus
Released December 27, 2019, by Hells Headbangers Records, although, the CD was available for purchase on December 13, 2019—Friday the 13th.
I honestly never thought I’d see the day. This has, personally, been the most anticipated release of the year. There were a lot of album’s this year that I was looking forward to – Abysmal Lord’s, Deathspell Omega’s, Hellvetron’s, Misthyrming’s, Teitanblood’s – but not one of those did I buy the minute I saw it was either announced or released. There was a single song (track 3 on the album) teased on HHR’s official YouTube channel—two years ago. And those two years dragged on for so long – without so much as a hint or a whisper as to the album’s whereabouts (for reasons which are unclear) – that, at a certain point, I was convinced it would never come out—that it had been cancelled. Yet here we are. And here it is.
If you’re unfamiliar with this band, their music is extremely intense, delay-heavy (on the vocals as well as the guitars), harsh power electronics-accompanied, lo-fi, grindy, cacophonous, amelodic, atonal assault punctuated with the occasional brutal musical break. Like other bands I’ve talked about this year, their musical style is difficult to classify. It’s obviously built upon a Blasphemy- and Black Witchery-influenced framework, but there are other, non-traditional elements at play that function to distinguish it from other typical “war” or “black/death” metal bands. As many have noted, Nyogthaeblisz’s music is very similar in style to Tetragrammacide, although, I believe Nyogthaeblisz did it first. (With this release, though, it seems Nyogthaeblisz have taken influence from Tetragrammacide’s obnoxiously long and needlessly verbose song titles.) Until now, the band had only ever released demos and demo compilations. They released an EP in 2008 titled “Apocryphal Precursor to the Great Tribulation” and were featured on a 2012 split with Goatpenis called “Terroristic Onslaught of Humanicidal Chaos” and a 2018 live split with Black Witchery and Possession called “Abhorrent Desecration”. Though, many of you were probably already aware of their existence, purely from the band’s notoriety, “Abrahamic Godhead Besieged by Adversarial Usurpation” is, for all intents and purposes, Nyogthaeblisz’s studio debut.
Like many, what first brought this band to my attention was the contrived controversy surrounding their lyrical content and various, dubious underground associations; but, for brevity’s sake, I won’t get into any of that. I will say this, though. After deciphering the lyrics on this new album – printed in a nearly illegible, old-English style font (a cliché practice which should be dead, yet somehow persists even to this day) – I can already see protesters lining up. I can already hear them chanting their empty platitudes.
The album art is a hideous rendition of the menacing, cyclopean hexagrammid eye of some unknown, eldritch horror, courtesy of Antichrist Kramer (who also did the excellent cover art for the 2019 Absurd “Facta Loquuntur” reissue). Interestingly, the artwork is signed and dated, 2016. Also, on Hells Headbangers’ webstore, the album is listed as having been released in 2016, which it obviously didn’t. The booklet included with the physical release states that the whole album was recorded in a week all the way back in 2015. And even though track 3 was teased in 2017, the final master wasn’t completed until 2018. Was this record completed four years ago and just sitting suspended in the limbo of bureaucracy? But I digress.
Pulsating noise, mercilessly pummeling drums, flesh-flaying guitars, and absolutely demonic vocals. “Abrahamic Godhead Besieged by Adversarial Usurpation” succeeds in exorcising the soul and mutilating it into oblivion. Musically, this album is more akin to Nyogthaeblisz’s unreleased demos compiled in the 2016 “Apex Satanist” release in that the contiguous musical movements follow an almost seamless, uninterrupted current of electric momentum, except, here, that momentum carries the listener throughout the entirety of its 36-minute running time. “Progenitors of Mankind’s Annihilation” (2003), I think, had more variety between compositions, although, that may have only been because there was no unified vision among them. If I had any complaints about “Abrahamic Godhead Besieged by Adversarial Usurpation” it is that the unique traits of individual tracks tends to get lost and muddled in the incessant barrage of noise and distortion to the point that you might, upon repeat listens, forget exactly which track you’re listening to.
Obviously, this new album has the best production quality of any of Nyogthaeblisz’s releases. The feverishly thunderous drums, which sound great, are very present in the mix here. So present that it actually dominates the mix and drives the songs. Nothing is inaudible, though. The booklet, as well as the promotional material, for this album shows a mysterious third figure who, I assume, is the new, official, full-time drummer. He’s an absolute madman. The tempos achieved in this album are so insane they have me wondering if he is even human. The guitars sort of struggle for attention in the mix. If you can discern it, the riff-work consists of string-snapping, vaulting, apoplectic grinds very reminiscent of Deiphago and, of course, the aforementioned Black Witchery. The vocals are a clash of shrill, distorted howls and echoey, detuned roars. The bass is almost utterly drowned out by the prominence of the drums. The harsh noise is used to great effect, expertly interwoven into the composition. The songwriting isn’t terribly complicated, but, then again, that isn’t the appeal of Nyogthaeblisz. No single component of their music can stand on its own, but, in totality, they create a seismic, apocalyptic wall of inexorable chaos. Conversely, each track is bookended by like a flushing, fade effect followed closely by an ear-piercing, high-pitch sting over a dull, throbbing bass drone. I get it. It’s an aesthetic choice. You want to punish the listener for foolishly thinking there would be some sort of brief respite from the onslaught of sonic terror, but I probably could have done without it.
“Abrahamic Godhead Besieged by Adversarial Usurpation” is like receiving a broken, subspace transmission from a hostile, interdimensional alien race hellbent on annihilating humanity. Standout tracks are 2, 3, 6, and 7 (with 7 probably being my favorite). This album could not have been more hyped, for me, and, though it is not without its faults, it absolutely lived up to my expectations. I look forward to hearing these songs played live. The best possible way to end the year, and the decade, in my opinion. Crank it up and drown out the blight of incessant Christmas music. Summa laude. Not recommended for the uninitiated or the faint of heart. Essential listening for the true underground enthusiast.
But did I like it more than Hellvetron’s “Trident of Tartarean Gateways”? It’s difficult to say.
Actually, 0/10 no razor blade included.