Hadopelagyal – Nereidean Seismic End Review
There’s something about tackling a fresh new band with baby-face energy hoping to make their mark. Fresh out of demos and splits, you can only hope that they’ve learned their lessons from their years of obscurity, but too many have paths of pain ahead as they struggle to find their footing. Black metal is an even more interesting style for this, as kvlt mimicry is expected, even encouraged, while a new band struggles with its two left feet. Enter Hadopelagyal, a twist on the name referring to the deepest part of the ocean. Likewise, never entering the shallows of the treble clef, these Germans are ready to blast your face off.
Hadopelagyal, as their name suggests, shrouds their furious black/death in a haze of noise and obscurity. Opening track “Depravity Shall Triumph” showcases this opaqueness with precision, its savage tremolo and blastbeats emerging from the abyss with the forms of creation. Pitch black tones batter the ears like lapping waves of pain, while hideous shrieks echo from far away, the dying calls of decaying sirens. Nereidean Seismic End is a grey place of isolation and suffering, which, frankly, I don’t want to visit again. While I can admire its hellishly ambivalent atmosphere and emphasis on bludgeoning, Hadopelagyal is in dire need of making their music interesting.
If you’ve heard “Depravity Shall Triumph,” you really don’t need to hear much else off of Nereidian Seismic End. If constant blastbeats and low-tuned tremolo is your jam, Hadopelagyal shall satisfy mightily. The low-tuned melodies of “Intertidal Terrorrealm” are tasty and the epic central riff of “Blades Drawn from the Iron Marrow of the Sunken Dead” drill into the head, while the meditative sprawling tones of the latter work well with its audial representation of subaqueous murk. The dueling riff and noise introduction of “Pitiless Stars in the Clasp of Putrefaction” is appropriately crawling and ominous, while atmospheric closer “ἄπειρος καὶ ἐρῆμος ἐστιν ἡ θάλασσα” is a clear standout in its fusion of noise and ambiance that accurately concludes a huge and punishing album with even greater wavelike movement. Nereidean Seismic End’s best asset is its dense shroud of noise, benefited by an equally crushing guitar tone and grimy production.
While Hadopelagyal does an expert job of accomplishing death metal pummel with black metal means, recalling a more energetic version of Lvcifyre or a denser, less dissonant take on Light Dweller, Nereidean Seismic End needs to change up its approach. Although “Depravity Shall Triumph” soars because of first impressions, “Blades Drawn…” because of its triumphant central riff, and “ἄπειρος καὶ ἐρῆμος ἐστιν ἡ θάλασσα” for its moving ambient movement, all other tracks fall into monotonous blastbeats and low-tuned tremolo with little variation. Even the best tracks took several listens to unpack, and wading through this murk yielded little reward when the songwriting it obscures is simply endless blasting with only one or two memorable riffs throughout the average six to seven-minute tracks. It’s minimalist, but it doesn’t feel like Hadopelagyal intends it. Tracks like “The Morning Carried a Feeble Sun, a Solitary Sphere of Embers” and “In Dragging Incandescence” are immediately forgettable, dwelling too long on blastbeats and tremolo with only noisy murk otherwise.
To their credit, Hadopelagyal has created an opaque debut that feels as oppressive and murky as its deep-sea moniker suggests. However, while its atmospheric elements soar, they feel like a diversion from or mask over the weak songwriting that plagues Nereidean Seismic End. It certainly has its moments, as opener “Depravity Shall Triumph” and “Blades Drawn…” are the best demonstrations of their metallic prowess, while the ambient closer is a standout in its own way. Aside from scattered moments of inspiration, the rest of the album is pure monotony in down-tuned tremolo, ambient overlays, and endless blastbeats. While an appealing kernel of potential is here, you have to dive deep into these trenches to find it.
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