The label Avantgarde Music has expanded from the territories of experimental black metal to various prog / doom fields lately, so seeing a harsh black metal attack like Amnis Nihili’s Christological Escalation being released through the label brings a smile on my face.
Not that we’re dealing with an uncompromising, straightforwardly Satanic underground black metal release, but Christologiical Escalation’s filthy sound does surprise me. These four rapid songs don’t have much bass behind them and this is the biggest reason behind the harsh nature of the EP. The guitars are piercing, dead cold, and so are the incredibly fast drums of which cymbals are a whiplash to the listener’s ears. Nothing to complain about the high-pitched vocal delivery either that goes somewhere in the lines of Neige of e.g. Peste Noire and Alcest fame.
Via the use of fast speeds on which discordant riffage appears, Amnis Nihili creates a trance-like, hypnotizing atmosphere that works to a great extent. Individual songs don’t much rise to attention from these 17 minutes, but as a whole, Christological Escalation sounds good and succeeds at what it’s doing: cold, harsh, fast black metal with ambient undertones. Sometimes the riffing reminds me of Deathspell Omega’s convulsion while at times it turns into a sea of tremolo-picked, harmonous and almost droney ambiance à la Altar of Plagues. An interesting release overall that might not deserve its place in my top 10 of the year, but does lure for replay.