Review: “Tongue Of Thorns” by Nexorum
Deriving their name from the Latin word Nexus, which literally means “binding together” or “connection“, Norwegian Blackened Death Metal quintet Nexorum were conceived in 2019 by a collection of seasoned musicians know for their prior convictions in Keep of Kalessin, Sunsetriders and Killing for Company to name but a few. They rose to prominence with their debut album “Death Unchained“, unleashed upon the masses in February 2020 but unable to give it the tour cycle that it deserved due to plague and pestilence on a global scale, the band returned to writing mode. They promise their return with “Tongue Of Thrones” to be a darker journey down the left hand path, exposing more of their Black Metal roots as they feed on narcissism and serve as a sonic feast to stave off famine…
…prolonged isolation and solitary confinement can do strange things to the human brain and lyrically “Tongue Of Thorns” exposes the inner thoughts of vocalist Terje Olsen with tales of despair, rage and hatred as the call of the void has the gravitational pull of a black hole dragging him to annihilation. The melodic, melancholic opening of “Shun” is a short lived introduction before a storm of restless and relentless rhythmic power grows, swirling overhead like a dark cloud as it infuses blasting with haunting riffage that approaches cinematic quality from the dark side. A pulsating soundscape, it leaves the listener gripping the pillow tightly, afraid to listen on and afraid to stop in equal measure. Olsen’s uncleans are viciously barbed but clean enough that every word of his monstrous lyrics is heard without mistake. “Solvet Saeclum in Favilla” brings an ethereal touch as the whirlwind of sonic oblivion becomes all consuming, the journey to the heart of darkness down the yellow brick road of evil continuing at neck snapping pace. Nexorum have an abundance of energy that they pour into the music from their very souls, creating lightening in a bottle and one can only imagine how that must translate into furious fire at live shows. Tribal drum fills celebrate a virgin sacrifice with more ethereal touches in “The Pestilential Wind“, Olsen reaching demonic territory with his throat shredding vocals before a harsher cleaner moment mid cut that is very well executed. Violently turbulent riffs smash upon the shores the atmospherics reaching incredible new heights as the song plays out before “Elegy of Hate” finds the pattern repeated to skull crushing devastation. The balance between Death Metal and Black Metal is clearly a beast that the band have wrestled with, a seventy thirty split in favour of the latter here will infuriate the purists but in truth offers something fresh, new and rejuvenating to others.
The sheer power of “Cult of the Monolith” is immense, buried moments or orchestration enhancing the Tsunami of metronomic blasting and ominously sinister guitars that the band create. A delicate and yet elegant solo in the final moments is a well thought out and classy touch that acts as a palate cleaner before the plague winds rise once more with “Eldritch Abominations“. Some almost ethnic touches breathe new life into the apocalyptic soundscape, the swirling guitars adding a ghostly note. It doesn’t really stand out from the pack as being different but it doesn’t disappoint either, carrying through to the next cut with suitable weight. “Sinnets Krig” (or “War Of The Mind“) is the sole cut in the Norwegian language, a ripper of a cut that perfectly contrasts the brutality of Vidar Lehmann’s drumming with the dark melancholic guitars from Roger Isaksen and Frank Løberg. Only in Black Metal can the two extremes live side by side as they pull and push each other to create a dramatic sense of tension that you could cut with a knife. The instrumentation serves to mirror the Olsen’s thought process perfectly, creating what is one of the masterworks of the album. “Mother of Ghouls” tears a hole in the space time continuum with the elongated roar of “Ghouls!” before a surprisingly technical solo flies off the fretboard like a lightening bolt from a wrathful God. A siege worthy song “Wrath of Zeal” is graced by a dull ache and beauty in lead guitars before it’s mid cut Groove Death riff exposes something from the bands past. For other bands that would be the main riff of the song but here it is simply one of a plethora exposed to the four winds… [7.5/10]
2. Solvet Saeclum In Favilla
3. The Pestilential Wind
4. Elegy of Hate
5. Cult of the Monolith
6. Eldritch Abominations
7. Sinnets Krig
8. Mother of Ghouls
9. Wrath of Zeal
“Tongue Of Thorns” by Nexorum is out 19th May 2023 via Non Serviam Records and is available over at bandcamp.