NEPHILIM'S HOWL Through the Marrow of Human Suffering

Album · 2017 · Pagan Black Metal
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4/5 ·
Finnish trio Nephilim's Howl, a band formed in 2015, clearly aren't intending to start their career by being pigeon-holed. It's obvious from their music found on their debut album Through the Marrow of Human Suffering (2017) that they are a black metal band, but beyond that they're a bit more difficult to fathom. They're clearly not a traditionally minded act from the school of Mayhem or Darkthrone and they're certainly not exactly progressive or avant-garde either, nor are they as depressive as the album title may suggest them to be. So what exactly are they?

To be honest with you, I don't find that Through the Marrow of Human Suffering completely fits into any established black metal sub-genre, but the one I do find it to have the most in common with musically is the so called pagan black metal style. It's not the most obvious of conclusions, I know. Nephilim's Howl certainly don't present the typical imagery for the genre either, in fact one look at that title and even the cover art and it would be all to easy to assume that this really was something from the depressive black metal style but while the album does have some elements similar to the DSBM genre such as sorrowful cleanly sung vocals (nowhere near as tortured or despairing as is DSBM) the atmosphere the record creates is altogether different. Less suicidal and more raw and primal, like it's somehow metal that comes from an ancient time. More...pagan.

Typically mid-paced with some minor underlying influence of doom metal, but also occasional bursts of speed, Nephilim's Howl have recorded five tracks for this debut album. In some ways it's very much a no frills attached kind of album, but it does prove to be quite varied in its approach, making use of more melodic sections every now and then as well as synth parts and also featuring a varied vocal style ranging from more traditional growling, the sorrowful clean singing I mentioned earlier, and also semi-harsh shouts. The cleaner vocals are not the most pleasant on the ears but they do fit with the whole primal atmosphere the band has going for them on the album. The mixed vocal approach is equally likely to be a draw to some black metal fans and an acquired taste to others.

Overall, Through the Marrow of Human Suffering continually proves itself to be a very engaging debut release from Nephilim's Howl. The band's best achievement on it has to be the final title track which is a three part song, making it their longest at over twelve minutes. The biggest selling point of course is the album's difficultly to compare it completely to the works of other artists, making it a recommended release for those looking for something of the atypical kind.
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