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Ninkharsag - The Dread March Of Solemn Gods (2021) - Review

Band: Ninkharsag
Album title: The Dread March Of Solemn Gods
Release date: 30 April 2021
Label: Vendetta Records
Genre: Black Metal

Tracklist:
01. Night Wrath
02. The Dread March Of Solemn Gods
03. Under the Dead Of Night
04. Lunar Hex; The Art Of Mighty Lycanthropy
05. The Necromanteion
06. Discipline Through Black Sorcery
07. The Tower Of Perpetual Twilight
08. Spectres Of The Ancient World
09. Strigoi Diabolicum
10. The Lord Of Death And Midnight [Bonus track]

Every now and then, I randomly take a trip around streaming platforms to check out whether there are any goods for me, and I seldom fall for the cover art. Except, for this time. The mesh of washed-out darkly-tones colours and epic aestheticism had me in a moment – I just had Dissection’s Storm Of The Light’s Bane album cover pictured right in my mind, and therefore felt instantly intrigued about what would this album bring to me. Indeed, The Dread March Of Solemn Gods is an album that draws its inspiration heavily from the second wave of black metal from the first to the last minute. There are no crossovers, no additions, no fusions on this record, as its sound is deeply dabbled in the black metal stylings in the vein of Emperor, Dissection, Watain and even Necrophobic. Ninkharsag is no new name on the scene, as the UK ensemble gathered for the formation in 2009 and released their debut, The Blood Of Celestial Kings, in 2015. New work was finished four years later, but due to circumstances released in April this year.

Haunting, tenebrous, and shivering opener "Night Wrath" sets up the artic and stygian mood and seamlessly transits into the eponymous track, which sets everything on fire and does not let go till the very end. The Dread March Of Solemn Gods delivers raw and primordial, yet cohesive guitar work alongside blasting drums, accompanied by rasp and ill-boding growls and the dynamics between these core elements is right on point. The features within each track are impeccably equilibrated, and it seems a lot of effort was put into paying close attention to details. There are no moments, which would cut through the sound and make it difficult to digest; its flow is unfaltering and sophisticated. Adding moments of distant feel and chill is nothing but genuinely welcome addition, especially in terms of creating well-structured, eerily soundscapes, emitting the bone-chilling and murky atmosphere. Momentarily, the guitar work goes into a more melodic direction, like for example on "Lunar Hex: The Art Of Mighty Misanthropy" and "The Tower Of Perpetual Twilight", although there is just the right amount of melodic concept flowing in there, not to go too far and lose its primal touch. Not only musically but also lyrically, Ninkharsag is staying true to the roots, as their themes are falling deep into the abyss of occultism, magic, and history - all very well represented themes in the realm of black metal.

The strength and invigoration of The Dread March Of Solemn Gods come mainly from its steadiness, as there are no tracks, which would immediately stand out, neither are any, which would hold the album down. From the beginning to the end, this album holds and delivers a clear concept, raw atmosphere, and an underlying vision, which is again – a homage to the traditional sound of black metal. There is nothing exceptionally original on this album, as the band is clearly not interested in experimenting and expanding over the borders; they are comfortable within (or staying true to), but neither is this in any way a copycat work. The production and sound are sharp and clear just enough, not to be heard as overdone (for this genre) and not to sound like the album has been recorded in someone’s cellar on a cassette recorder.

The review was written by Ines
Rating: 8/10

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