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Depressive Winter: Nihilum Bellus

I've had the pleasure of reviewing quite a few releases from the Haarbn label recently, where a merry go round of locations and styles seems the order of the day; Depressive Winter taking us to France and the black metal scene. As ever from this interesting label, we also take a step back in time, Nihilum Bellus (Nihilum spelt with one "l" on the front and back cover and two on the spine...) released back in early 2012.

Depressive Winter are a two-piece, yet thankfully they sound far more multi-dimensional than that, Profane providing vocals, guitars and bass, while Naja Atra takes out his anger management issues on the drums. As ever things begin with a scene setting intro, although in this case one which does try to keep in mind what follows as "Voices" serves up a mighty tirade of blast beats and destroyed vocals. It is a convincing, if over long, first parley from the pair, while album closer proper (a decent if unspectacular cover of "Canticle" by Morgion comes after), "Delicious Sorrow", displays a similar earth flattening ethos. What comes in between is where the sparks fly and the interest grows. "Despair" serves as a lengthy percussive metallic marker for the more melodic, yet still uncompromising "Abyss", where the guitars and drums are pulled back to a holding position which threatens to break free at any point, but which cleverly never quite does. "Post Mortem Celebration" sits somewhere in between, aggression more blatantly to the fore, but the pacing of the song always kept in check.

Much of the album is presented instrumentally, the shorter segues without vocals and yet Profane is capable of nightmare inducing screams and shrieks and an even more convincing rasp which serves the album well. "Cold Way" is the final short introductory piece, creepy clicking (which with the sounds of a howling wind also present may be intended to signify fire, but sounds more like a demented typewriter...) and clean guitar building a sorrowful mood which breaks out into the aforementioned blasts of "Delicious Sorrow".

With Nihilum Bellus, Deceptive Winter have found a fine balance of the black genres, dank and morose one minute, threatening and full of angry despair the next. All attacks are handled extremely well and the production/mix (which seems to have been provided by the band themselves) is clear and sharp, while retaining the darkness and isolation this approach requires. There maybe isn't much, if anything, that steps outside of the tried and tested, yet when it's done this well that's reasonably easy to forgive.

Since this album everything seems to have gone quiet from Depressive Winter, yet the gap between this album and their debut, Llac Edicius, was six years, so we can only hope they're still a going concern and that maybe album number three will arrive in 2018

Track Listing
1. From the Depths
2. Voices
3. Despair
4. Abyss
5. Post Mortem Celebration
6. Cold Way
7. Delicious Sorrow
8. Canticle (Morgion cover)

Added: April 4th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Depressive Winter on Facebook
Hits: 1386
Language: english

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