Monday 29 September 2014

Nightbringer - Ego Dominus Tuus’ (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 26/9/2014
Label: SOM - Underground Activists

‘Ego Dominus Tuus’ CD/DD track listing:

1). Prayer Of Naphal (02:00)
2). Et Nox Illuminatio Mea In Deliciis Meis (09:00)
3). Lantern Of Eden’s Night (09:30)
4). Things Which Are Naught (05:36)
5). I Am The Gateway (07:33)
6). Call Of The Exile (04:26)
7). Where Fire Never Dreamt Of Man (06:41)
8). The Witchfires Of Tubal-Qayin (07:43)
9). Salvation Is The Son Of Leviathan (Alabas in Memoriam) (06:08)
10). The Otherness Of Being (12:43)


Ego Dominus Tuus" comes as a huge surprise. With their previous release "Hierophany Of The Open Grave" (2011) NIGHTBRINGERsucceeded to raise an eyebrow or two in Europe, but the old world was rather busy with sufficient orthodox Black Metal of its own. This is about to change. Sure, the elements that "Ego Dominus Tuus" is made of are well known. There are obvious traces of EMPEROR, DARK FUNERAL and DIMMU BORGIR among other black classics to be found on the American's fourth full-length. Yet NIGHTBRINGER have created dark and gripping music that is clearly bigger than the sum of its parts. Their songwriting is flawlessly elegant and easily carries even through songs of epic duration without a single second wasted.

When NIGHTBRINGER were founded, the band was created as a conduit for contemplations on the mysteries of death as it is understood in the tradition of the magical arts. Formed in the year 1999 by Naas Alcameth (guitars and vocals) and former member Nox Corvus (guitars, percussion and vocals), the band from Colorado in the United States chose Nordic Black Metal as the foundation of their artistic expression. NIGHTBRINGER are still holding up the traditions of second generation Black Metal, while adding their own unique sinister sound. After unleashing several demos and split releases between 2001 and 2006, their debut album "Death and the Black Work" darkened the light of the world in 2008. A second album followed two years later with "Apocalypse Sun". Rising from the US underground,NIGHTBRINGER found themselves opening for major acts of the scene such as WATAIN, KRIEG and PROFANATICA and in 2014 crossed the Atlantic for a small tour reaping strong praise from the initiated.

Now it is time to listen to NIGHTBRINGER again without prejudice and discover the remarkable strength of "Ego Dominus Tuus" that will lead them to the elite circle of American black metal!

The Band:

Naas Alcameth | guitars, bass, vocals, scripts and ambience
Ophis | guitars, bass, vocals and scripts
VJS | guitars, bass, backing vocals
Ar-Ra’d al-Iblis | vocals, scripts
Menthor | percussions


‘Ego Dominus Tuus’, the third album from Colorado black metal band Nightbringer marks a slight tonal shift, which some might cite as a negative. Do not count me among them, as I think the album adds new elements that work well and move the band along nicely. Change is often necessary, and as long as a band makes logical choices when evolving their sound; it’s the only way to avoid stagnating.

The first two albums were built around a lot on dissonant, clashing chords, which you might equate with a band like Deathspell Omega. They weren’t quite as jarring as Deathspell Omega, as things tended to be a bit more open and flowing from a rhythmic standpoint, whereas DSO is jagged and stabbing with harsh tempo changes from out of nowhere. The shift on ‘Ego Dominus Tuus’ takes Nightbringer into territory more synonymous with a Dark Funeral, Setherial or maybe Funeral Mist. That isn’t to say they’ve completely abandoned what’s worked for them in the past. “I Am the Gateway” features a slower, warping section that would have fit in quite nicely on ‘Hierophany of the Open Grave’. But those moments represent a smaller part of this album than on either of the previous two.

One change that should strike you right away is an increased focus on borderline-ridiculous blasting tempos. It’s very often every bit as fast as the fastest of Dark Funeral songs, which is no doubt thanks to new drummer Menthor who also played drums on the newest Enthroned album. The bulk of this much faster material is concentrated at the front of the album, only showing up occasionally in the later stages. Many of these super-fast sections also tend to include the Dark Funeral/Setherial-style wall of inverted power chords, which is what drives my constant comparisons to those bands.

While the album is very often compelling and even enthralling; it’s simply too fucking long. There is no need for an album of this style to be 70 minutes long. Rather than giving the album a sense of grandeur; it brings the the whole thing down a notch for feeling bloated and over-stretched at a time when no one is really making demands of album length.‘Ego Dominus Tuus’ would likely be a fantastic 45-50 minute album, rather than a very good 70 minute album. Really, the easiest cuts would be “Call of the Exile” and “Salvation is the Son of Leviathan”. They’re pretty unnecessary as they’re largely just atmospheric, tension-building tracks and Nightbringer already does an excellent job of building tension within their sound, so instrumental tracks like these feel like filler.

With the album’s only major flaw out of the way, the greater positives still remain. Very few in American black metal can craft an engrossing atmosphere the way Nightbringer can. They know how to build to a huge, climactic moment. They know how to conjure up a huge production too, and they make excellent use of it, as this is certainly their best-sounding album so far. They just need to learn when to say enough is enough.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

You can pick up a copy here and in the USA here

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