Nadiwrath are a Greek black/thrash metal outfit signed to Moribund Records, billed as the side project of Wrath, vocalist/guitarist of the extremely prolific Dodsferd. Having released a self-titled demo in 2007, the band has scheduled their debut album, Nihilistic Stench for a January 2011 release. Nihilistic Stench contains re-recorded versions of three songs originally released on the demo, along with five all new tracks, presenting an interesting blend of early black metal married with a prominent old school thrash influence especially evident in the guitar riffs and drumming style. What seems to be this album's most unique feature is the inclusion of slower, melancholic, doom-inspired movements, chiefly towards the end of most songs, offering a dramatic departure in terms of style and mood. While Nadiwrath aims to present an enjoyable and uniform effort with this album, there are a few things that get in the way.
Nihilistic Stench is an oddly paced record, starting off with a slump that thankfully picks up before the halfway mark, and courses along steadily till the end, offering a solid piece of consistent, albeit scarcely original or inventive music. The opening track, "Darkness Has Lost Its Meaning", is surprisingly the worst song on the album, flagging along under the weight of bland riffing that borrows far too heavily from early thrash, without infusing it with any originality or interest. An interesting feature on display here is the frequent variation in the vocal delivery, between throaty rasps and screeches, layered mid-range shouts reminiscent of Belphegor and finally, Wrath's speciality - anguished, animalistic bellows. As for the incorporation of the aforementioned melancholic segments, this largely pans out to be a hit-and-miss experiment, with Wrath's prolonged, dramatic howls occasionally bordering on the excessive and absurd. Fortunately, these elements all but disappear by the fourth track, and the proceeding material sounds more credible and energetic, with the excellent "There Is No Light" and "Another Pimping Whore" delivering the most convincing riffing on the record. The final track, "Memories Are Dead", is the clear highlight, an atmospheric, melodic black metal track that acts as a fitting closer to the album.
What keeps Nihilistic Stench from breaking out of the sandbox of a satisfactorily good but 'not there yet' album is the songwriting, which fails to hit the mark often enough. The backbone of the album - the guitar riffing, tends drop into the background under Wrath's impressive vocal performance, often betraying a dearth of sufficient inspiration and originality. Further, the arrangements deserve some reworking, as the some of the longer tracks tend to drag along and fall into repetitiveness. The clean, dry and lightweight production on Nihilistic Stench is arguably not the best choice for the music on display and further detracts from the album's sonic impact.
Nadiwrath have created an album that at its best moments recalls a combination of the sheer belligerence of early Celtic Frost-era black metal, coupled with more melodic, modern elements, and a fairly interesting vocal performance. While Nihilistic Stench isn't a record that would see frequent replay, it's a good instant fix for a throwback to the classic First Wave days, but this limited scope fetters the potential that the band possesses. In short, Nadiwrath need to establish a more distinct identity and step up the songwriting quality if they are to receive serious attention as a presence in the modern black metal picture.
1. Darkness Has Lost Its Meaning (4:49)
2. Two Face Shit Fuckers (5:19)
3. Horns (6:23)
4. There Is no Light (7:42)
5. Another Pimping Whore (5:38)
6. Winter Nights (3:28)
7. Eyes Full of Vengeance (5:38)
8. Memories are Dead (9:49)