Nightbringer’s path has continually taking their music further away from the orthodox sound while still being peripherally caressed by the shadows of their early influences. ‘Ego Dominus Tuus’ took a patient approach in picking apart what was constructed before it to create the abominable monstrous entity that was the end result. ‘Terra Damnata’ is birthed in the self-created void and slithers out upwards into the Light in rapid course. The ritual begins yet again, the music puts on a mask that convolutes its features from being shapeless to an absolute form to being shapeless again.
‘Terra Damnata’ picks up where ‘Ego Dominus Tuus’ left off when it comes to the songwriting. Fearless thrusts of sharp guitar work into unnerving and unknown corners of mysterious musical landscapes is what you would encounter during the comparatively short length of the album. Is it a vast shift from their 2014 masterpiece? Hard to give a definitive answer as it would depend on what section of the album we are talking about. It still possesses the chaotic and ritualistic quality in its atmosphere in most parts, and the wall of sound and bursts of bludgeoning blows.
Nightbringer’s approach to dissonance has slowly been evolving into something of their own from the days of ‘Hierophany’, and that is exploited and fine-sculpted in this album as well. With every step, Nightbringer is closing the gap between the esoteric philosophies they delve in, and the projection of such into the auditory dimension.
The first half of the album is streamlined and fast-paced. With no breathing room in sight, the fluidic riffs gush through reminiscent of the faster sections of ‘Ego’. Obtuse melodies meld into the grooves of incessant drum work. The picture slowly begins to change from then onwards. Pockets of haunting ambience gradually start to bubble out in complete cohesion with the melodies to induce trance-like states.
“The Lamp of Inverse Light” is a meditative track featuring chants by ar-Ra’d al-Iblis, further pushing the album into ritualistic fervour. “Serpent Sun” is a grand condensed summary of the entity that is Nightbringer. The amalgamation of the old and the new and the unknown – emotions of varying viscosity crash against each other into a final high.
Nightbringer yet again manages to sound distinct from the now repetitive orthodox black metal sound and continues to strengthen its genuineness. The music is as dense as the thematic depth in the occult subjects of interest and is an honest reverence to the philosophies. Naas Alcameth continues to be involved in creating gems. I consider Nightbringer one of the greatest modern black metal units, and time and again have they proved to be up in their game.