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Nihility / Beyond Human Concepts puts the “interesting” back into Death Metal

Two years after the release of their debut studio album, Thus Spoke The Antichrist, Portuguese Blackened Death-Metal quartet Nihility return with a new full-length album, the nine-track, Beyond Human Concepts.

Nihility – Beyond Human Concepts (Vicious Instinct Records)

Release Date: 8 January 2022

Words: Jools Green

The tracks I heard from the debut were both technically fascinating and brutally engaging, melding brutal Death Metal riffs with technically complex rhythms and blackened melodic elements, and you can look forward to the same with Beyond Human Concepts.

Nihility - cover of Beyond Human Concepts
Nihility – Beyond Human Concepts

The only real difference is that they have built on what they learned from the previous offering and upped their game considerably, as you would hope, particularly from a technical perspective making Beyond Human Concepts both a hugely varied and ambitious release. Nihility have also tried hard to make it unique, incorporating a lot of wide-ranging Metal elements, an abundance of ambitious squealy, often technical leads, equally technical riffing, alongside blackened melodies and riffs and stunning ground shaking growls, creating a forward-thinking and delightfully brutal sound.

If I am going to be supercritical, the only minor fault is that occasionally it’s a tiny bit lurchy and choppy in one or two places where it could have flowed a little more smoothly, but that’s just me being mega picky.

What it does, that is far more important, is it puts, for me, the “interesting” back into Death Metal which is often lost by so many bands in that genre, particularly the old school brigade, too many of whom want to sound exactly the same as each other instead of trying to be individual, something Nihility do so well. A lot of bands could learn from this album.

Although I do like the whole album, I do have a few stand-out tracks. Firstly, Martydom For The Herd, it’s dark and ominous to open, ramping up into a chugger that packs a punch but also drops back in pace regularly, so it’s not linear. In the second half, blackened riffs mutate into a superb soaring burst of technical leadwork.

Hubris has a vibe that is slightly reminiscent of Aussie Tech Metal legends Psycroptic woven into the engagingly technical riffs, immediately winning me over. I love how at the mid-point, it drops to a bleak heavy crush briefly before ramping up for a second sensory assault.

Conflicting Vanities is a superb chugging driver with an addictive groovy undercurrent, and I love the haunting riff echoes in the second half. It adds a subtle extra element to the sound.

On Beyond Human Concepts, I love the varied mix of riffs, some dark, some melodic. They do flit seamlessly and very organically, followed by a burst of midpoint leadwork, then with a reflective drop away and spoken element leading back up to a final brutal assault.

Sea Of Thoughts may just be the outro, but it’s a superbly dark, haunting and reflective piece. The dark, ominous guitar work is complemented with the atmospheric sound of crashing waves, so much so I almost wish it was a full-blown track.

Beyond Human Concepts was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Pedro Mendes at Ultrasound Studios Braga and is available as a digital offering or physical CD from nihilityofficial.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-human-concepts

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