CD Review - N.I.L. - Self-Titled
N.I.L. ("Nihilism is Liberation") is N. Imperial – whose long resume includes Krieg, Nachtmystium, Twilight, Weltmacht, and Devotee – and J. Marcheski, who moonlights with Imperial in doom outfit March into the Sea. On its self-titled debut, this New Jersey duo pounds out black metal that's primitive yet experimental, fighting through sonic shit-clouds at times, while plucking acoustic melodies at others.
Which makes for a bumpy listen – an acoustic intro ("Plague Doors Rusted Shut") and interlude ("Serpent Circle") sound like a grumpy Camper Van Beethoven, while a jangly, strangely perky cover of Big Black's "Bad Houses" suggests XTC gone black metal.
In between are five tracks heavy on atmosphere, Imperial's rasp reverbed to hell amid dense ride cymbal foliage. This is no blastbeat-ridden dronefest, however. "Here I Found No Shelter" and "Leaving the Self Behind" trudge through weighty, hypnotic grooves; the frantic "Sinking" suggests a soul clawing at the the walls of its bodily cage.
At only 34 minutes, with oddly sterile white artwork, the package feels slightly undercooked. However, the production is heavy and electric, and the abstract feeling and overall quirkiness bode well for future efforts.