Album: Phantasmal Triunity
Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
Genre: Deathly Black Metal
Release Date: 10 August, 2018
Nachash are a Deathly Black Metal group from Oslo, Norway; a mystical and cosmic entity, partially symbolized because their name means serpent in Hebrew. The motif of cosmic mysticism is everywhere from the artwork and logo, to the lyrics, and oozing out of every pore of the music. Comprised of three members, Anders Westbye, or A, on guitars and vocals, R on bass, and Kenneth Tiller on drums; Phantasmal Triunity is the band’s full-length follow-up to Conjuring the Red Death Eclipse released in 2015.
Deathly Black Metal is a term I’d never heard before and is also a remarkably accurate box to put this album in. Defined by the black metal structure and guitar playing, there is an air of death metal in the melody and the vocals instead of manifesting itself in the typical black/death chaotic war and noise fashion. Regardless of any present death metal influence, this is without doubt a fierce black metal record.
Vocals are sparse at times, which can be a bit disappointing as Anders is a great vocalist. He briefly shows us his war metal howl on the first track which is promptly traded in for the vocals present on the rest of the songs. His performance is just death metal enough to not give the nails on a chalkboard quality some black metal vocalists seem to strive for, while still remaining firmly in the black metal camp. Anders performs a low register gravel-throated howl, which fits with the music perfectly, making the sections where it is missing all the more noticeable. The vocals also have an echo effect on them, adding to the haunting and mystical quality.
The bass and drums that make up the low end contribute a solid foundation for the guitar to shine, and the vocals to bellow. Kenneth Tiller is surprising at times with his speedy fills in between sections, considering most of his playing is impressive and solid beat-keeping. R on bass is similarly tasked with creating and maintaining the foundation, which is handled with ease and skill. The bass isn’t given too much opportunity to stand out, but on Vortex Spectre, R teases just how talented he is layered under the guitar.
Speaking of the guitar, the riffs are always memorable, distinctive, and just plain great. I found myself instantly drawn into the songs catchy guitar work where each riff remains enticing every time you hear it. Phantasmal Triunity is all about the guitar, and each song has its own riff that dominates most of the song’s respective play time. Galloping riffs make a triumphant appearance, which reminded me fondly of my early days listening to heavy metal. The songs all manage to be completely individual from each other while maintaining a consistent sound across the album. Nachash don’t present a wide array of styles here, but they play one with great proficiency and surprising range.
The individual songs can get a bit repetitive, and given the relatively short runtime of the album, it becomes noticeable that you’re basically listening to only a handful of major riffs repeated throughout. Due to Nachash’s style each song also shares roughly the same structure as the others, including how the riffs are introduced, changed, and then returned to their original form. This critique is rather nitpicky, because despite being aware of the repetition I never once reached to skip a song.
Despite the issues I’ve mentioned, this is a relentless and catchy album. I found it so much fun to listen to each of the individual songs; there are only six on the album, and there are no duds among them. Some highlights for me were Astral Sacrifice which became an instant favorite, and Vortex Spectre which is a close second. Nachash have created a great album and earned a new fan.
1. Red Death Eclipse (A Savage Darkening)
2. Apex Illuminous
3. Astral Sacrifice
4. Fleshtemple Incineration
5. Vortex Spectre
6. Elder Night (Arcane Fires)
Total Playing Time: 36:44