Nexhymn’s Black Horizon is without a doubt a left field album. As in, ‘it came in from’. It’s a surprisingly well-produced death metal album that is more akin to a drag race than anything else; it’s fast, it’s exciting but it’s over before you know it. And while disappointingly short, Black Horizon makes sure to pound you head in with your choice of blunt object from start to finish.
The album starts off very strong with crunchy guitars, hammering drums and deep guttural vocals with “Decaying Monument” and doesn’t let up until the final track “Death Emotion”. At first, Black Horizon has a distinctly American death metal sound, but upon further inspection you realize it’s far more than that. The vocal qualities are a lot like Miika Tenkula on Rotting Ways to Misery and the guitars when crunchy and pounding away are a lot like Deicide and Monstrosity with one exception; during the slow moments they take on a Burzum and early Bathory quality and have that very grainy and tingy sound that provides for a great listening experience. And while the album plays it safe and doesn’t venture into any new territory, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Nexhymn is very capable of working within the confines presented to them by their genre and it becomes very clear early on that this quintet is more than educated in their death metal. “Repacious Tempest” is probably one of the strongest tracks on the album and does what I love best: it showcases not just the individual members, but also the band a whole. It’s one of those death metal tracks that you show to your friends; it’s fast, catchy and one hell of an example of musicianship. And while technical is definitely a term that any person would use to describe the sound of Nexhymn, they do stop somewhere shy of bands like Necrophagist and Dying Fetus. Black Horizon is an album that showcases various influences and abilities, but it does not rely on any one of them to be the anchor for the album; it’s the sound the band presents as a whole that will engage John Q Deathmetaler and bring him in.
But for all that Black Horizon does right, there are also some matters that need to be addressed. For example, towards the end of “Undetermined Supplication” there are certain audio issues; this particular problem is worth noting for the fact that it seems like they changed the snare drum with a Tupperware container. Literally. But luckily, it’s gone as soon as it starts. Easy come, easy go. The only reason why this is an issue at all is because it is jarring in contrast to the almost immaculate quality of the rest of the album; you simply cannot have a pristine recording and then drop the ball on the last minute of a song. Lastly, the length is an issue; if your death metal record is shorter than the majority of Agnostic Front’s discography, we may have a problem. At 22 minutes I had to check the back of the album to make sure I had gotten all the files and I hadn’t left some out on the import. In the minds of many, if you’ve got something good going on, why stop? Why not keep the train a’rollin? Nexhym could’ve easily squeezed in an extra song or two, but they decided to leave the metal community hanging. And while these are for the most part minor gripes, they still do detract from the listening experience, even if just a little bit.
If you’re the type of person (and let’s face it, you are) that likes their death metal fast and brutal, Black Horizon is definitely worth checking out. Though, you just may have to listen to it twice over to get the feeling that you’re listening to a full-length album.
Oh yeah, the singer is a chick.