Album Review – Nachtlieder / Lynx (2018)

Witness the lynx, the antagonist of the antagonists and a symbol for knowledge and clairvoyance, in the form of the beastly Black Metal by Dagny Suzanne’s alter-ego, sticking its claws deep inside your flesh.

Our beloved Swedish Valkyrie of Black Metal, the talented multi-instrumentalist Dagny Suzanne, is finally back with her incendiary alter-ego Nachtlieder three years after the release of the excellent The Female Of The Species, showcasing another evolutionary step in her interesting and fruitful career with her third full-length album, simply titled Lynx. Once again accompanied by Martrum on drums, and with the fantastic support of the skillful Déhà (Musical Excrements), who not only provided some additional vocals and noises on the album but who also produced, mixed and mastered it, Nachtlieder will stick her claws deep inside your flesh with Lynx, proving her creativity and energy are soaring at this stage of her life.

Featuring a beautiful cover art based on a painting named Guldnyckeln by John Bauer, from 1915, and a digipack booklet portrait of Dagny by I Breathe Needles, the title of the album refers to the lynx as the antagonist of the antagonists (the wolves) and also as a symbol for knowledge and clairvoyance. The theme of the album is largely death and solitude, with many references to the lynx in cultural history, as well as to science in general. In other words, our Gothenburg-based she-wolf doesn’t just deliver high-quality music for our avid ears, but there’s also a lot to savor and learn in Lynx, one of those albums that you’ll get addicted to from the very first second without even noticing.

Distorted, wicked noises ignite a Black Metal feast entitled Claws and Bone, feeling more melodic and dissonant than the project’s previous albums, with Dagny sounding beautifully hellish and somewhat cryptic on vocals and on the guitar while Martrum adds a welcome dosage of intricacy to the music with his beats. Then we have the furious title-track Lynx, a song that grows in intensity until it reaches a pulverizing and mesmerizing tone, with the strident guitars by Dagny being flawlessly complemented by Martrum’s classic Black Metal beats and fills, resulting in a full-bodied sonority tailored for fans of modern-day Extreme Metal; followed by Song of Nova, an explosion of dark, crisp and low-tuned tones embellished by harmonious background elements, also presenting some welcome neck-breaking passages and Dagny’s usual poetic lyrics, giving even more depth to her already exhilarating music (“Dark frequencies, succumb to by every beast / As nova has swallowed the last light / And resigns / Their limbs tremble as the chords are strung / Fragile glass that shatter / Shards that dissolve into dust”).

The next tune, titled Nameless, Faceless, presents a creepy intro showcasing dark vociferations by Dagny, evolving into classy Scandinavian Black Metal with a superb job done by Dagny with both her slashing guitar lines and rumbling bass lines, flowing smoothly and powerfully from start to finish, whereas Law of Decay is a first-class, infuriated display of flammable and straightforward Black Metal, offering the listener a massive wave of classic riffs, unstoppable beats and those demonic, Stygian growls we all love so much in this type of music. And Dark Matter sounds closer to the music found in her two previous albums, especially the sound of the guitars and the hypnotizing music structure and pattern, with all instruments emanating metallic sounds that end up creating an enfolding atmosphere that will certainly captivate all your senses.

Eyes Ablaze, which brings forward what’s perhaps the most carnivore lyrics of the whole album (“Eyes, eyes staring in the dark in the misty night, eyes ablaze / Only star and spectre / Dare to meet my gaze / Claw, clawing round the walls round the bodies of the game / For carnage and grim sight / I will be to blame / Teeth, teeth sunken into meat into warm flesh, then like a flood / Fallen sheep and hound / Lapping blood”), is a rip-roaring Black Metal onrush that will leave you absolutely disoriented, showcasing an amazing performance by Martrum on drums while Dagny’s scorching riffs and visceral gnarls will crush your soul. And last but not least we have Moksha (a term in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism which refers to various forms of emancipation, liberation and release), bringing more of Dagny’s unparalleled music combined with the precision and complexity of Martrum’s drumming, therefore offering the listener over six minutes of classic Black Metal with a fresh twist, with all instruments getting heavier, darker and more piercing as the music progresses before all devastation gives place to a somber and atmospheric ending.

In summary, like what happened with Nachtlieder’s self-titled debut album in 2013 and The Female of the Species in 2015, Lynx is more than just a detailed and thrilling album of classic Black Metal, becoming Dagny’s outlet to the outside (and always dangerous) world we live in, and due to those additional layers the album ends up growing on you with each and every listen, revealing to your ears and mind previously unexplored grounds and nuances. Hence, if you want to venture through the realms of Natchlieder and Lynx deeper and deeper, you can enjoy the full album on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course the most recommended way to do so is by purchasing the album from Nachtlider’s BandCamp page, as well as from iTunes, Amazon and Discogs, always keeping an eye on the project’s official Facebook page for news and other nice-to-know details. As the beast called Lynx has just been unleashed upon humanity, the only thing that’s left for us to do is succumb to its music and energy, all in the name of meaningful extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Song of Nova, Law of Decay and Eyes Ablaze.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Nigredo Records

Track listing 
1. Claws and Bone 4:31
2. Lynx 3:52
3. Song of Nova 5:22
4. Nameless, Faceless 5:04
5. Law of Decay 4:25
6. Dark Matter 4:47
7. Eyes Ablaze 3:56
8. Moksha 6:19

Band members
Dagny Susanne – vocals, all instruments

Guest musicians
Martrum – drums
Déhà – additional vocals, noise

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Album Review – Cult of Erinyes / Tiberivs (2017)

Inspired by the Roman Emperor Tiberius, here comes a ruthless Belgian Ritualistic Black Metal horde with their brand new and utterly fantastic concept album.

One of the most talented and prominent bands of the Extreme Metal independent scene in Europe, Belgian Ritualistic Black Metal horde Cult of Erinyes, is back with their unsparing music in the form of a concept album titled Tiberivs, inspired by the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who ruled one of the greatest empires of mankind from 14 AD to 37 AD. It doesn’t matter if you’re a newcomer to the dark world of this Brussels-based band or if you’re already a fan of works such as A Place to Call My Unknown, Blessed Extinction and their latest EP Transcendence, the music found in Tiberivs will leave scathing scars on your skin and poison your blood, leaving you eager for more of the band’s mordant creations.

As commented by the band’s mastermind Corvus, “I always perceived Cult of Erinyes as a portal that allows my mind to connect with different universes. I had, from the very beginning of the creative process, to immerse myself in a definite time period – the Ancient Roman Empire, Tiberius era. Each song, melody, and riff had to refer to a variation of emotions forgotten by time itself. What sounded like a fantastic challenge ended as a nightmare where my subconscious got lost. Desperation, frustration, and madness raised dangerously. This third album is our most progressive effort so far, but also contains radical and intense parts sublimed by Mastema’s urges for ferocity. We both went as far as we could on this album and were lucky to be helped in our task by longtime devoted musicians Algol (bass, additional guitars), Baron (lead guitars, artwork), and Déhà, who handled the drums, some guitars/keys, and the the mix/mastering process. Last but not least, Alex (Kall, Hypothermia, Craft) offered us a five-star bass-line on the intro and Marc DeBacker, my brother in Wolvennest, added some crystal-clear guitar sounds on the end of the album. This album also marked the end of my longtime musical and spiritual journey with Mastema. I can only but respect his decision and salute the energy he shared on Tiberivs. This concept album was his idea, and I’m glad we end our collaboration on this high and digressive note. He will be replaced for future live and recording duties by the most extreme and mentally extreme singer I know, Déhà, who is known for his work with Yhdarl, Maladie, We All Die (Laughing), and shitloads of other good projects. For all those reasons, I will hate and cherish this album. For Centuries To Come.”

In the opening track, titled Archaea, 41 B.C., fires burn amidst some eerie voices and moans, being slowly joined by the band’s atmospheric instrumental and topped off with a narration about how Romans were raised by wolves and that wolves are born to hunt and kill, resulting in a beyond ominous intro to the devastating Nero (Divine Providence), offering the listener the band’s old school Black Metal with their traditional ritualistic twist in the form of a sensational tempest of slashing guitars and blast beats. Moreover, not only Mastema sounds more devilish and brutal than ever, but the song’s frantic sounds are effectively blended with its ambient passages, turning it into a full-bodied blackened experience that’s definitely worth a listen. And in Casvs Belli, which means “an act or situation provoking or justifying war”, we’re treated to an explosion of extreme music with the demonic riffs by Corvus together with Algol and Baron generating a truly belligerent atmosphere, all enhanced by the infernal growls by Mastema and the obscure keys by Corvus.

Bred for War connects instantly and perfectly with the previous song to the point they can even be considered one major composition split in two, with sheer bestiality flowing from the awesome drumming by Déhà. In other words, this is straightforward Black Metal perfect for Corvus and his horde to tell the story proposed in the album; followed by Loner, a song that kicks off like a raging bull, smashing everything through the blast beats by Déhà and the fast and cutting guitars by Corvus, with Algol strengthening the song’s melody with his bass lines. The final result couldn’t sound more amazing, a furious and occult creation by Cult of Erinyes with an excellent job done by Mastema giving life to the song’s dark lyrics. Germanicvs, with its almost 8 minutes of blackened sounds and a demonic aura, keeps up with the foundations of Black Metal, being one of the most obscure and dense of all songs of the album led by the sustained drums by Déhà and spiced up by dark vociferations by Mastema.

An eerie, dark intro ignites another menacing creation by this talented Belgian horde, titled First of Men, a hybrid of Atmospheric and Ritualistic Black Metal with hints of Blackened Doom. Moreover, although it doesn’t show the same fury that emanates from the rest of the album, it’s still essential for the storyline. In Damnatio Memoriae (or “damnation of memory” in English), the music grows in intensity and darkness until after one minute it becomes a feast of Blackened Doom sounds enfolding the demented gnarls by Mastema, remaining rhythmic and dynamic thanks to the excellent job done by Déhà on drums until its thrilling Stygian ending; whereas For Centuries to Come is an 11-minute aria where Corvus showcases all his abilities as a multi-instrumentalist, while Mastema elevates his evil growls and screams to a whole new infernal level. This is by far the most complete and detailed of all songs, with its second half being a work-of-art of extreme music, not to mention its atmospheric elements beautifully complementing the piercing guitar riffs and solos, flowing into a fantastic and climatic conclusion to the album.

In a nutshell, the implacable Cult of Erinyes sounds stronger and more menacing than ever in Tiberivs (which can be enjoyed in its entirety HERE) and, despite being their ultimate album with the demonic Mastema on vocals, I’m sure the band will still provide us a lot of amazing material like this in the future. Furthermore, this brilliant concept album can be purchased at the band’s own BandCamp page, at the Caverna Abismal Records’ BandCamp or webstore, and at the Aural Music Webstore, as well as on iTunes, Amazon and Discogs. The roots to the greatest empire in the history of mankind are deeply connected to the lives of wolves, and there’s nothing better than the austere extreme music by Cult of Erinyes to show you how harsh, ruthless and vicious wolves can be.

Best moments of the album: Nero (Divine Providence), Loner and For Centuries to Come.

Worst moments of the album: First of Men.

Released in 2017 Caverna Abismal Records

Track listing
1. Archaea, 41 B.C. 2:40
2. Nero (Divine Providence) 7:42
3. Casvs Belli 6:24
4. Bred for War 3:52
5. Loner 4:27
6. Germanicvs 7:40
7. First of Men 5:49
8. Damnatio Memoriae 6:04
9. For Centuries to Come 10:59

Band members
Mastema – vocals
Corvus – lead and rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards
Algol – bass, rhythm guitar
Baron – lead guitar
Déhà – drums, additional guitar & keyboards

Guest musicians
Alex – bass on “Archaea, 41 B.C.”
Marc DeBacker – additional guitar on “For Centuries to Come”