WOW – and then I leaned back! What an opener. The beginning riffs of Terra Damnata (SOM – Underground Activist) are quite unexpected. It’s loud and bombastic. Nightbringer meant to get on the front foot with their fifth offering, and I dare say they did. Everything but the kitchen sink is thrown at my head for ‘As Wolves Amongst Ruins’. It’s bombastic. It’s loud. It’s evil. It’s discordant. It’s scary. Keep in mind, this is the first song. There can be no mistaking that this is indeed a heavy Black Metal album.
If you are not used to psychotic drumming, vocals that alternate from growls to crazy guy in Times Square end of the world-like pronouncements all intermingled with a cacophonous guitar; then this ain’t the place for you. For me, the cool thing about Nightbringer’s Terra Damnata is that it’s the Halloween Spirit whenever you listen to it. It’s like a modern soundtrack for Hammer Horror films. When you just “feel” the music, you have a clear bad guy/devil-demon type. You can imagine them skulking around a darkened castle wearing velvety black with their eyes illuminated at brief intervals by candelabra.
‘Let Silence Be His Sacred Name’ is a perfect example. It begins with solo piano, then descends into a blood-curdling scream and head-pounding drums. The frenetic pace is of a werewolf running through the Carpathian Mountains on a hunt. The pacing of the song imbues a sense of dread in the listener. When It does slow down, it’s like you’ve been trapped and you know you are about to die a gruesome death. ‘Inheritor of a Dying World’ takes a different route. It’s like spoken word beat poetry but over Black Metal. It’s slower, sludgier. It oozes with atmosphere and gravitas.
The great thing about Nightbringer’s Terra Damnata is that it paints very vivid imagery utilizing composition, pacing, and instrumentation. If you totally dug Nightbringer’s last four albums, you’ll be into this one too. If you’ve never heard of Nightbringer, buy this one, even if black metal isn’t your forte. Play it at Halloween.