Review: “Severance Of Serenity” by Nephylim

A five member Melodic Death Metal band from the Hertogenbosch and Apeldoorn regions of the Netherlands, Nephylim have taken influences including Insomnium, At The Gates and Omnium Gatherum and looked to create their own sound following their 2015 debut EP “Torn“. The time between now and then has seen them replace vocalist Lisa van Dijk (ex-Solemnus) with Tijn Bosters (Depths of Kronos, Basterd Bound) and the addition of Ralph Lentink (Guitars) (Neige, ex-Deamension) with Kevin van Geffen (Guitars/ Backing Vocals)(ex-Breaking the Monolith), Martijn Paauwe (Drums) (ex-Mirdyn), and Rens van de Ven (Bass) rounding out the line-up. You may have already heard singles “Fractured Existence” and “The Bitter Inheritance” which were in the pre-release cycle and after a 2 year hiatus, some internal issues and tragedy, they are keen to once again create fresh music when it would have been simple to call it a day. The album artwork by Jarno Lahti of KAAMOS Illustration, Mixed by drummer Martijn Paauwe at Asymmetry Audio, Apeldoorn Netherlands and Mastered by Brett Caldas-Lima at Tower Studio, Montpellier France.

The album starts on a somber note with “Reminescence“, the sound of an acoustic guitar against the crashing waves building into an orchestral backed Melodic Death Metal sweeping instrumental and it ties back to “Torn” neatly by occupying the same territory as “Tempest” which introduced that. It serves the purpose of setting the tone and focusing the mind before the Black Metal inspired blast beat introduction to “Forsaken” takes you on a journey into the sound of Nephylim. Bosters unclean vocals are savagely brutal in throat shredding fashion but it’s the music that is the surprise element here. It flows between Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore and Black Metal stylings with sweeping movements and interweaving that have a classic dark beauty. Similarly “Vanquish The Sepsis” has a bright and fitting solo that is kept firmly rooted in the lead flourish and avoids the temptation of becoming an ugly over statement while there are some riffs that you might have associated with the likes of Caliban or even As I Lay Dying.Aftermath” takes a slightly off kilter poly rhythmic start before building into the bands now considered core sound and combines a galloping Metalcore drum sound with some Melodic syncopated riffs as the guitars switch over in the mix. Martijn Paauwe does a great job of holding all of the elements together while the shadowy demonic vocals have the chance to invade your brain.

One thing that Nephylim do well is integrate melodic passages in which they aren’t afraid to drop down to acoustic guitars and build back up into the main parts of their song structures. This is something that’s done incredibly well on “Fractured Existence” with one particular passage flowing straight through into blast beats before a short and sweet solo. Bosters vocal is a relentless evil darkness with little to speak of in the way of pitch or tone changes to bring variety which instead the band do this themselves musically. “Reassurance” brings back the sounds of the ocean and acoustic guitar melodies of “Reminescence” with some progressive leaning subtlety and the same orchestral sweep that gives the instrumental a sense of shoe gazing mourning. Second pre-release single “The Bitter Inheritance” shatters any illusions of some epic evangelical clean vocals and Progressive Power Metal with a return earlier stylings after the palette cleanser. It’s a fine summary of the bands sound overall and showcases each band members talent in equal measure. The aching synth backed piano that brings the extended cut to a close is masterful and cinematic in its elegance. One thing is for certain, they have a much improved mixing and mastering of their debut full length than they had on their debut EP.

An obvious single and music video choice “Dust Veiled Sky” has a sublime flow and could serve as a track from any one of a number of bigger name bands without any listener flinching, such is it’s quality and epic grandness in depiction of apocalypse. “Eye Of The Storm” is the perfect fit to follow up, continuing the lyrical feel and musical flow. Moving from the slick lead flourish laden guitar work to a solid mid track breakdown and then back out is done to perfection and Bosters unclean vocals knit everything neatly together. There is a lot going on in the track and as with the album there are some nuances that appear only after several listens. One of these is some of the impressive work by Paauwe as he uses some alternative patterns to add something else to bands overall sound. “Remembrance” features a guest appearance from Andy Gillion and as you might expect given it’s 8 minute plus run time, it’s an epic tale. Bosters brings his darkest, heaviest vocals, pushing himself further than he does on the rest of the album while the guitars play out in grand fashion. There is a sense of mourning that builds using melodic bridges between heavier sections that could be Gillion’s influence and the false ending mid track with a piano sequence is something really special, as are the virtuoso solo moments that follow. Wrapping around to the sound of the sea crashing upon the shore closes the album in fine style [8/10]

Track listing

1. Reminescence (Instrumental)
2. Forsaken
3. Vanquish The Sepsis
4. Aftermath
5. Fractured Existence
6. Reassurance (Instrumental)
7. The Bitter Inheritance
8. Dust Veiled Sky
9. Eye Of The Storm
10. Remembrance (ft. Andy Gillion)

Severance Of Serenity” by Nephylim is out on 18th January and might be available over at bandcamp

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