Many contemporary metal bands, regardless of genre, are often found guilty of band worship in their material – too regularly one can hear the exact song that inspired a riff, too often a band tries too hard to be THAT BAND 2.0. Nexilva have broken the mould of paying direct homage to their musical heroes by — instead of copying or emulating — creating a record that drops in and out of genres and sounds, each page turning into a new wicked adventure. Eschatologies is full of evil, grooving death that fights tooth and nail for it’s place among it’s peers. And wins.
Signing to Subliminal Groove is possibly the best move this group of young, talented friends could have made. The label is notorious for being the platform for many modern metal acts who play a similar style to Nexilva. The ferocious breakdowns, oppressively anthemic passages of destruction and dystopian themes that one would expect are all present. Thankfully there are more than enough individual elements present that make Eschatologies so much more than yet another symphonic death(core) metal release.
Where others have attempted to mash genres together by simply lumping electronic elements or samples into straight death metal, this young (every member in their very early 20s) quintet have carefully picked and chosen the right moments to break up the tremolo picking and pulse increasing, unforgiving percussion with tasteful, baroque inspired electronics. Examples of this can be found throughout every song on the album but come to prominence in the title track and ‘Invasion‘. Rather than simply throwing them in when the band stop playing, the keys and synths often creep up from the belly of a disgustingly heavy riff. These electronic elements definitely add something to the more ‘by the book’ tracks on Eschatologies.
The instrumental interlude tracks that make up the spine of the album are distracting, yes, but the electronic dits, blips, and sweeping keys take their rightful place in the story that Nexilva have crafted. Placed at either end and through the middle of the album, they serve to help create the techno-demonic world that these Northern lads have conjured into existence. Aiding the creation of this grim soundscape are the range of influences that can be heard, including straight up black metal to 8-string groove wizardry. The technical proficiency of guitarists Simon Atkinson and Craig Robertson can not be called into question with the seamless blending and layering of melodic death and crushing modern technical metal that ‘This Is Humanity’ and ‘Misdirection Of God’, in particular, showcase immensely. The fact that there are no real lead sections in the album is a touch disappointing but this can be overlooked in lieu of the rest of the material. The rhythm section more than hold their weight with Ryan Banks’ bass following note for note and simply booming below the guitars when needs must. Percussion wise, there is a certain always busy aspect to the drumming of Connor Jobes which lends itself to archetypal metal luminaries Dimmu Borgir in the most complimentary way possible.
What aides Nexilva in standing out from similar acts like Lorelei and Ovid’s Withering is the performance of the bands very own ‘Necromancer‘ Gaz King. This young man conducts from the front in the vein of such prestigous company as Trevor Strnad and Randy Blythe. The bellowing lows and fiendish screeches that come out of his lungs compliment the rest of the bands’ performance and are equally as impressive live as on this record. Lyrically, the Matrix-inspired ‘Cybernetic Lucidity’ is a highlight, being a joy to sing along to with it’s man versus machine theme and range of lows, highs and everything in between.
Eschatologies is full of staple death elements backed by an entourage of inspired performances and individually brilliant tracks. The closing minutes of ‘Evil Will Prevail’ are, put simply, epic. Where the album drops marks is that it becomes a bit predictable with regards to the filler tracks and the lack of lead guitar work. However, this is an incredible label debut from a band that have only just (relatively) started, and they have started with a bang. This is for fans of progressive, heavy music, not for those who seek to simply lump an act into a genre for the sake of it. Do the world a favour and play this really fucking loud and get grim with Nexilva.