posted on 4/2010 By:
As the second review in an unintentional trio of write-ups that focuses on the incredibly productive French black metal scene, Nyseius’ ATMF debut, Militiae, arrives six long years after their Lueur d’une Lune Morte demo, and it would be nice to say it was worth the wait. Definitely cut from a different cloth than bands such as Merrimack, Blut Aus Nord, and Alcest, Militiae is a beast directly descended from the likes of Dark Funeral, Dimmu Borgir, and Dark Fortress. There’s enough on this 36-minute outing to interest the casual black metal fan in passing, but pickier admirers of the genre might find this to be rather forgettable.
In fact, it’s not until the fifth track (out of six) when my ears actually perked up with genuine interest. Up ‘til then, “Ibi Deficit Orbis”, the title track, “Les Symboles De La Catharsis”, and “Lueur d’une Lune Morte” all sped by in a blur of completely uneventful, baby-soft tremolo with more subdued sections of atmosphere that didn’t feature a single memorable or notable riff whatsoever. Where the production is concerned, you couldn’t ask for a less biting sound, and such a pristine and padded mix does no favors for the already child-friendly blandness of these tunes. It’s only when “Endless March” comes raging forth with a previously unheard majesty of vibrantly evocative riffs, distinct and impassioned vocals from Daeloth, and a slower, morosely sad second half that I finally discover just what Nyseius is capable of performing when they want to. This tune has everything: anger, grace, dynamic structure, and some damn good rhythm guitar. But with four actual songs bookended between two flaccid atmospheric instrumentals in which only one of those songs is worth pointing out as something above average, I’d hardly use this album as a reference point when it comes to the best of the best coming out of France at the moment.
This is a situation where you have to ask yourself if competency and decency is worth shelling out for, because what Nyseius have achieved here is nothing that can’t already be found with equal banality from the three much more well-known acts mentioned above, and for taking so long to finally put together such a brief and faceless product, I wonder why they even bothered. Gob-smackingly average, and just more corpse-painted faces in an already oversaturated crowd.
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