Combining stately aggression with melodically expressed ache, Nemorous — a new release from the U.K. black metal project of the same name — feels entrancing.
The project lets their starkly compelling melodies flourish, often sticking to a more meditative pace than one might expect from ragged black metal along these lines. The rhythms across this new release are decidedly tense, but they’re not overwhelming or pulverizing. Instead, there’s space in there to (metaphorically) sit and ponder the path ahead, as Nemorous sound like they’re displaying personal visions of startling emotional unrest. The experience seems on par with laying down in exhaustion within an expansive forest and accepting the elements. The music is grandiose, with some compelling drama readily apparent within the heaving, shifting melodies — but there’s also a sense of raw surges of emotional malaise. The songs are strikingly expressive.
The album at times sounds straightforward, especially across the over nine minutes of “Omega,” and the overall force of the performances amplifies this feeling. Nemorous sound formidable — they’re impressively heavy, and even within the more breathable segments, a weighty fog coats the experience, with jarring, abrasive tones. The riffs seem to tear across the landscape of the record, evoking a sense of observing a destructive storm.
Meanwhile, the adeptly defined forward trek that the album takes suggests some kind of ceremonial procession, but — although the imposing riffing keeps this sense of grim regality intact — the emotion isn’t covered up. The songs seem organically volatile, and immersing within the record’s world feels like suddenly entering the crowd at a funeral procession, as unrestrained outpourings of grief abound. The record intertwines overcast atmospherics within this tapestry, with an expansive mix and instrumentals that, thanks to the slower pace, simmer before Nemorous move on.
Overall, the record also sounds earthy, with resonant grit as though the whole experience is unfolding while covered in kicked up dust. Nemorous is thunderous, but it’s also intriguingly nuanced, as though showcasing some of the fragility that can accompany even the starkest sense of strength.
Although Nemorous perform with somewhat of an undercurrent seeming to slowly drag their compositions back into emotional strain, the cascading rhythms from album opener “For We Who Shall Know No Rest” onward keep the album musically invigorating. That overarching push simply proves tempered by the weighty turmoil of the journey, like walking against the wind. The record shifts between quieter segues and more blistering onslaughts, but it’s centered upon something like morose poignancy, suggesting slowly rising mournfulness.
The increasing energy of “Omega” outlines something like a last stand against a threat of destruction, but an aching sense of looming loss appears built into the rhythms. To build off the subtle drama of the songs, it’s like standing on the deck of a decrepit ship and watching the waves crash into the hull, while acutely aware of the somber fact that the ship won’t last forever.
Nemorous — by Nemorous — is available now from Bindrune Recordings.