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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nekrasov - Cognition of Splendid Oblivion

Black(Hole) Metal.

Nekrasov is an atmospheric/ambient black metal project from Australia. Having been formed back in 1997 by Bob Nekrasov, little more of this project and person is actually known. This is his third full-length record, his first was released back in 2007 and since then he has released a continually growing span of releases each year.
A comparison to this project has been, by those who are aware of them, Gnaw Their Tongues. Stylistic comparisons are inevitable as both artists make use of black metal, ambient music, and harsh industrial noise within their music. Outputs from both artists are both becoming vast and extensive, though GTT has a wider catalog of releases.
This is not a very easy album to listen to, period. The use of harsh noise and distortion over the entire album is enough to make a regular person just turn this off when this thing starts, but for those that can take the sonic bombardment, this album will give you in return some of the most raw and primal sounding black metal this year. The same effects found on here, for those who need a comparison, could also be seen in artists and groups like the aforementioned Gnaw Their Tongues, Anaal Nathrakh, Xasthur, and Wold; and these are all groups that create aggressive tension between the overall music and it's final sound by making the distortion loud and pressing in some one's ears.
The vocals on this album are harder to decipher and analyze, as they are distorted as well. It's hard to tell as to whether Bob is screaming, wining, speaking, or whatever because of all the distortion just makes his voice sound like he's screaming at you though a bunch of white noise coming through your radio, and that, surprisingly, is a fairly accurate description. One can question the motives towards the achievement of this type of pounding aggression that the vocals provide, if it is merely because Bob is angry or what type of emotion is being shown within a given track.
The vocals are not the most entertaining thing on this album, as sifting through all the noise can be a bit tasking, but ultimately rewarding. Within all this extreme noise actually lucks some melody and clear sense at making songs. While the album's opening track Heresy, Heresy, Heresy Oh, Where Have You Gone? is very much dominated by industrial noise and ambiance, it's follow up track, Psychic Epilepsy In The Butchery of Light, actually, if you listen, has some melodic flow behind the machine gun drum machine and in-your-face vocals. It may come as a surprise to those that have never listened to music that contains such a noisy and consistent sound of aggression, but melody and atmosphere can actually exist within it. The only real break from all this comes in about the first half of Calculated Deception; Possessed By Nothing! where you get a symphonic ambient section, obviously still distorted, before the track goes into the album's most clean moment. For the rest of this track, the drums are very clear, but the vocals and guitars still sound the same, and yet it all sounds so much clearer.
The third track, and album centerpiece, Sadomasochistic Liberty Through Splendid Isolation, is most likely the only track this year that will make you want to bash your head into a wall. Even though this might sound weird, but in this case, it's actually meant to be a good thing, this track, which by the way is just over 21 minutes long, contains some of the most aggressive noise ever put to disc, at least that I've heard. Possibly the best way to describe the sound of this track is like if you're in the center of a tornado, or some sort of massive, destructive wind tunnel, and you can only hear the sound of wind all around you, drowning out everything else. This is a tasking track to listen to, not only because of it's length but the noise is so harsh it makes it difficult to hear anything else at all.
This is one of the hardest records I've had the pleasure of listening to this year. Don't misconstrue this as a bad thing, it's one of the few records that has actually made me want to listen to it over and over again just to hear what's deeper and more below the surface on here. This won't win any award for being the catchiest record or the one you'll have your first kiss to, but it's definitely one I'd recommend hearing this year.
Overall Score: 9
Highlights: Sadomasochistic Liberty Through Splendid Isolation

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