Nigredo – Flesh Torn | Spirit Pierced (2018) REVIEW

The first full-length from Greek black metal duo Nigredo takes all of the rousing dissonant guitar hammering of their 2015 EP ‘Facets of Death’ and flips that approach on it’s head for an album of thrashing orthodox black metal. Though blackened thrash metal is simply a launching pad for the hysterics and tight musicianship found on ‘Flesh Torn | Spirit Pierced’. It feels like a modern album with un-obscured recordings and ambitious variation compared to  vocalist, guitarist and bassist Alexis Papatheofanous‘ (aka “A.”) current gig fronting Ravencult. His vocals here show his versatility and occasionally even hint at his stint as original vocalist for thrash band Exarsis, while his rhythm guitar work is incredibly accomplished.

The real draw here is guitar riffing that can go from the wild shredding leads and thick rhythmic bursts of Absu circa their 2009 self-titled album (“Ten Repellant Antiforces”) all the way to the bendy Inquisition style powerchords soaked in jangly, ringing hexes (“Necrolatry”), and a few songs that are closer to the style of Ravencult‘s popular black/thrash style (“Raging Tides of Time”, “Sons of Worthlessness”). The point here is that this isn’t an album of bland repetition and while the first half is loaded with their heaviest and fastest songs ‘Flesh Torn | Spirit Pierced’ isn’t a one-note black metal thrasher, nor is it necessarily a Midnight style black/thrash record.

What saves it from that cheesy, done-to-death Motörhead-ish black/thrash fate is Maelstrom, a highly skilled drummer who was probably best known as the original skin-flicker for Dødsferd. You might argue that he is now better known for cutting edge death/grind band Dephosphorous as well as the last few albums from old school death/black band Embrace of Thorns. His skill is undeniable in terms of black metal drumming and the production gives his kit a clear voice among the storm of guitar-driven tracks. This sort of performance offers the flow that black metal, and extreme metal in general, needs to truly stand up to repeated listening and will always be preferable to programmed drumming.

For all of the bristling black metal harassment on tap here the monumental force of this album is again found in the relationship between the rhythm guitar’s textural riffwork that fully examines the possibilities of black/thrash and the sharply composed drumming that injects a foundational orthodoxy into the music. Dissonant embellishments modernize the performances just enough to remain interesting, and menacing, enough throughout. The only real issue with the pacing comes in the last ten minutes of the record where the flow of the album becomes redundant with tracks that might have made more sense in the first half of the record rather than as the end-cap. It isn’t a ground breaking work but Nigredo have worked hard to craft a ballsy and exciting guitar driven black metal album that impressed the shit outta me more with each listen.


Artist Nigredo
Type Album
Released April 15, 2018
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Inertial occupationist invasion. 3.75/5.0


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