Black metal beasts Nixil deliver beating on decaying world with blazing debut ‘All Knots Untied’

Photo by Shane K Gardner

We’ve admittedly gotten a lot of mileage over the mounting frustrations that have marred this earth recently, and even before the last year, it’s not like things were going smoothly for everyone. We’re at a place in time when we’re paying for our transgressions, seeing the results of people buying into a grift, and generally trying to navigate among people who don’t give a fuck.

There are so many ways to deal with all these flooding feelings, and perhaps the best way to alleviate the pressure building up inside our heads is to say fuck it all and try to carve a path that’s our own and free of the things bringing us down. That’s sort of the mission statement that Baltimore-based black metal crushers Nixil deliver on their great full-length debut “All Knots United,” a six track affair that launches itself right for your chest from moment one. There is frustration, anger, and defiance at every corner as the band unleashes their chaos upon the world on a record that’ll feel right for your psyche if you, too, are at the end of a burning rope. Another nice check in the win column is the band steadfastly stands against fascism, something that’s insane we even have to point out these days, but this is the place in which we live, and it’s nice to know where they stand.  

“Black Earth Within” opens slowly, establishing a mood before the riffs cut you down, and vile growls inject the poison. The playing is both punishing and melodic as it savages, even when the pace pulls back before melodies snake their way through the chaos. The fury increases from there, stirring and crushing the earth with deadly stomps. “Deaths of Our Own Design” blasts open as death snarls deliver rage, and the pace gets humid and sticky. The playing fires up as the drums are mashed, cleaner calls warble, and the moodiness thickens and churns. The melody wells up again, the leads explode, and vicious calls deliver the final blows. “Make Me the Voice” has bells chiming, growls collecting, and a hypnotic edge icing your skin over. The vocals get creakier and feel like they’re trying to open your flesh while the playing utterly storms, with the pressure increasing along with it. “Poison my heart, poison my mind, poison my flesh, poison my bones,” is wailed as the track burns to its finish.

“All Knots Untied” has riffs lathering and shrieks scraping wounds, while the melodies float into a thickened haze. Atmospheric guitars take over and turn the air frigid while the vocals warble, the playing trudges, and everything ends with vicious shrieks. “May This Flame Flicker Out” spills open as every element bashes away, and the guitar work floods the surface. The pace storms viciously as the drums crush, and the walls feel like they’re going to collapse. The band thrashes with force, crazed shrieks bruise your eyes, and everything charges into a trickling stream. “Unimpeded By the Weight” is the closer, and it cuts right to the bone with the drumming increasing the pain. Tremolo hell and gazey flooding add a sense of adventure while hell spreads its wings, with the vocals further darkening. The vocals reopen barely congealing wounds, the playing haunts, and the track finally fades into dirt.

Nixil’s brand of black metal isn’t reinventing the wheel by any means, and really, it doesn’t have to do that. Instead, the band delivers melodic, hard-working, punishing sounds on their debut “All Knots United.” They ideally enter a world in chaos unlike any we’ve witnessed in our lifetimes, as their music can act as a violent tearing off a rotting bandage to makes us more weathered to survive the hell in which we’re hopelessly drowning.     

For more on the band, go here:

To buy the album, go here:

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