Nailed to Obscurity have released their label debut with Nuclear Blast, following the waves caused by King Delusion released in 2017. The German melodic death, doom metallers have been gaining in strength since their 2007 debut Abyss and this release captures the best of their combined elements while their sound matures without getting stale.
From Esens, Lower Saxony which faces the harsh North Sea, frontman Raimund Ennenga explained that the title refers to black frost in shipping. It is a term typically referenced by fishermen with regards to freezing fog which can cause the formation and build-up of ice on ship structures and eventually cause the vessel to capsize.
The band has taken this as a metaphor for people who are not channelling their negative emotions such as anger, fear or rage well. The suppression of these feelings is in turn creating a burden and this burden is able to cause their minds to capsize. On this cold, grey and choppy day- I can totally relate to Ennenga. The album artwork was designed by Santiago Caruso, who also illustrated their previous album King Delusion and he explains the work as:
“Through the ages, the experience of the organic has outspread a substance frozen by the fear of uncertainty: the order of the sight succeeded to mute the mystery of the organism with a web of cold signs within the limits of the body, covering the shape of our true selves under the petrified whisper of a black frost. Now, we are in need of crying out a sharp thunder, a burning poem to melt it down.”
Could this Black Frost be the catalyst, the poetry we need to free ourselves from fear and burdens? It’s certainly powerfully atmospheric and a melodically cathartic release.
The band stated,
“Frequently, we carry frustration, pain, fear and rage with us until it’s too late. Like black frost that builds up weightily on the mast and the ropes of a ship, able to cause it to capsize, we burden ourselves. These suppressed emotions are the focus of Black Frost, which for us is the next logical step after King Delusion. While the new songs feature our distinctive touches, they are also a lot more open and multifaceted than ever before. We can’t wait to finally unleash our Nuclear Blast debut and to present Black Frost live on stage in January/February!”
This opus commences with the title trackBlack Frost. Glorious syncopated, driving percussion opens before the addition of bass increasing the pressure, then dual distorted guitars, before a haunted, whispered, growling, desperate vocal line. Ennenga says
“While we try to route our sanity through daily grind and to skip facing our fears, our darkest emotions are able to create a burden in secrecy – they are able to cause our mind to capsize. We tried to capture this atmosphere in the lyrics and the music of our song ‘Black Frost’. A sinister maelstrom.”
Clean precise guitars contrast strongly with the impassioned guttural voice giving a sense of urgency. The atmosphere created is sublime, the interaction between each musician truly magical. The structure is superb, with a haunting clarity, space and desperation. It’s a great opening track and introduction to what lies beneath.
Tears Of The Eyeless with it’s beautiful opening clean vocal harmonies (accompanied with cowbell!) doesn’t remain that way for long in the most classically structured of all the album tracks. It’s dark, groovy and the quite unexpected chorus is an epic gift. The Aberrant Host tells of a lethal parasite that slowly kills its host. There appears almost to be a song within the song, a change of both melody and rhythm but is it the host or the parasite? Without one, how could the other be? Is this an evolutionary symbiosis in action, or the swan song for vermin and host. Feardom is dedicated to the feeling of trying to keep your sanity when you feel you’re not alone. Melodically pared back, it gives the track a powerfully hymnic feel. ‘Nameless but so familiar’ ’ that feeling when you’re alone in a room, but you don’t feel you’re alone. There’s no one around you, but there’s a presence there.
Cipher is musically considerably doomier with searingly powerful guitar work and some very heavy riffs. It’s an emotive and masterfully haunting piece. Resonance ethereal and experimental, the message alludes that all the stones you throw in life will come back at you one day. Road To Perdition is heavy but with mellow aspects and clean vocals at times- the epic ending to this track and the album is glorious.
Nailed To Obscurity will be touring Europe throughout January and February 2019 as support to Amorphis and Soilwork, alongside Jinjer. This touring line-up will be hitting London’s Electric Ballroom on 2nd February.
Black Frost – Track Listing:
01. Black Frost
02. Tears Of The Eyeless
03. The Aberrant Host
07. Road To Perdition
Black Frost is now available for order in various formats here
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