Review: “Theos-Haimaton” by Third Nail

Third Nail is not just a solo side project, but a real presence which will take form, with claws, fangs and nerves. Third Nail will be an expression of how I believe pure black metal should be: aggressive, mystic, primitive, but above it all, dangerous and real” ~ Balc

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Javi Félez at Moontower Studios, “Theos-Haimaton” is a concept record that contains four psalms illuminated by the Light that pierces the wounds of God; four distressing songs full of hatred and uncompromising glare guided only and exclusively by sectarianism, intransigence and obstinacy. It is the work of Third Nail, a solo project of multi instrumentalist Balc (Balmog, Marthyrium, Apologoethia) which has been firmly built in the traditions of Black Metal with those four tracks then accompanied by another three from the sold out predecessor demo “Shepherd Of Wolves” to make this a full length album.

The previous work of Balc speaks for itself and while the material of Third Nail doesn’t stray from the left hand path he follows, it wouldn’t necessarily fit into boundaries of any of those projects either. “Theos-Haimaton” stands upon the foundation of gold and bones of Black Metal with caustic vocals, blast beats and atmospheric guitar work the backbone of the hellscape that Balc has created. It may not be as raw as some genre offerings but it is just as bloodthirsty with the restless and relentless rampaging opening of “Red Litany” making for one of the stand outs of the record. A master of the dark arts, the black skies are overhead are not pierced by simmering light but instead remain oppressive and fiercely intense as the fires of hell rage on in this graphic depiction. Sounding like it’s being performed in a dank, dark basement torture chamber dwelling, “Engluf the Soul” intensifies the flavour of the previous burning cuts with a darker and seemingly more emotive vocal performance as if there is something possessing Balc’s very soul as he drives the nails into the coffin lid with rhythmic prowess, all that is missing is a lightening bolt from a wrathful God in the form of a solo. After the first trio of brutal cuts, “Eden Stars” fades to black after less than two minutes, just as it’s getting going and leaves things sounding disappointingly incomplete. However the addition of the demo “Shepherd Of Wolves” makes this an album of two halves because while it has all of the qualities of “Theos-Haimaton“, it has none of the polish, instead sounding like it was recorded on a potato in a cave, with oceans of echo and reverb, the drum sound rattling your very bones. If these cuts were shorter then that wouldn’t be an issue but with “New Line” approaching 7 and a half minutes, it makes it a punishing to the point of grinding teeth listen. While the discerning listener will recognise the qualities underneath the sonic oblivion abrasions, there will also be some who simply can not endure the pain. There is half an impressive album here and there is a collection of ideas that beg to be re-recorded so we can hear them at their finest [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Hosanna
  2. Red Litany
  3. Engulf the Soul
  4. Eden Stars
  5. New Line
  6. Flaming Wounds
  7. Heresy Tower

Theos-Haimaton” by Third Nail is out 31st March via BlackSeed Productions

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