Search the origins of Shylmagoghnar, and you’ll find that the roots of this project reach back almost two decades to 2004 when Nimblkorg and Skirge were a duo. Although this has morphed into a one-man project, with Nimblkorg taking the reins, the quality of atmospheric Black Metal produced has increased.
Shylmagoghnar – Convergence (Napalm Records)
Release Date: 10 November 2023
Words: Paul Hutchings
Emergence was released in 2014. This beginning of a trilogy of work was maintained four years later by Transience, which received phenomenal reviews. Now, we arrive at the conclusion of this work, with Convergence providing the final instalment.
As before, it’s an album that provides much food for thought. The opening track is close on 11 minutes. I Hear The Mountain Weep is a sweeping instrumental piece. With organic simplicity, it flows while also being layered and intensely complex.
Inviting the listener on a journey through human existence, time, and space, we learn that this is an album marking the inward journey of death that one must travel through. Deep though the concepts may be, what is evident is the quality on offer. Appreciating the effort and craft presented with the opening song doesn’t require being a fan of Black Metal.
An absorbing hour of intoxication
Convergence is a journey allowing you to explore the emotions that our protagonist is experiencing through each song. The recent release of Follow The River provided the first glimpse into this sculptured piece of work. Its intricate combination of medieval-tinged acoustics, eerie piano, and shimmering riffs, combined with the drumming and ghostly, raspy vocals, give the song a real atmospheric feel, musical tendrils flicker in the air, haunting the very being. Like all the album, it’s something that sends shivers down the spine and becomes an absorbing hour of intoxication.
What stands out on Convergence, aside from the phenomenal ability of this multi-instrumentalist, is the combining of beauty with explosive passages of the darkest Black Metal. Maybe the purists would argue this isn’t true to the origins. I’m certainly not expecting enough to engage in such a debate.
For me, the combination of raw moments of crushing heaviness that is intertwined with delicious segments of ethereal delicacy work on every level, and that allows one to become deeply involved.
Over the ten Shylmagoghnar tracks that span 66 minutes, the listener experiences a myriad of emotions. There’s the eruption of Black Metal on Threshold, where the bass lines threaten to run riot, the tempo is high, and the rasping vocals switch between rage and whisper. All the while, intricate layers are spun, with bursts of melody screaming out from within. To then close it out with a sedate finale underpins this unique musician’s confidence.
Mid-section, and we reach the shorter songs on the album. Shorter in length but no less in intensity. The crushing passages that comprise Egregore, for example, plunge the listener into a darkness that is all-enveloping. The chilling background melody that echoes a music box penetrates the subconscious, whilst the raging pace that propels the song is once more captivating.
Self-produced and recorded, Nimblekorg as Shylmagoghnar has devoted almost half of the album to instrumentals. It’s these wordless passages that drive the deep admiration, for the musicianship is blistering, the compositions spellbinding, and the overall impact great. Infinion is a fine example, seven minutes of music that flows with a richness that is impossible not to appreciate. The ebb and flow between highly aggressive segments and the gentler, melodic parts work in tandem, creating a harmony difficult to describe but delicious to the ear.
Dedicated to his late mother, it’s evident that this is a deeply important and monumentally epic piece of work. At times cinematic in its soundscape, Convergence is an album that deserves, nay, demands your full attention.
Convergence contains a richness that is too often overlooked in the hurly-burly of the modern world. A combination of Black Metal heaviness, Folk and even slivers of Power Metal, there is much to explore. Take the trip. It is worth every minute.