To say that Texas’ Nyogthaeblisz exists on the outermost fringes of black metal would be an understatement. Their highly corrosive, blown-out sound has a lot more in common with an album like Venereology or Inner Mind Mystique than it does with Transilvanian Hunger. There very well might be something resembling traditional black metal lurking under the layers of distortion, but it is buried so deeply that it becomes something completely and utterly alien in Nyogthaeblisz’s hands.
After a series of releases for that sketchiest of sketchy labels known as Satanic Skinhead Propaganda, the band has signed on the dotted line with Hells Headbangers and will supposedly be unleashing their first full length sometime this year. But in the meantime they’ve opted to decimate our hearing even further with Apex Satanist, a collection of previously unreleased demo material on Iron Bonehead.
Indeed, Nyogthaeblisz’s sound is so goddamn gnarly at all times that I’m not entirely sure how one differentiates their demo material from their proper release material, so we’ll just have to take their word for it. Whatever the case, this shit is specifically designed to harsh the fuck out of your mellow, and in that respect it succeeds on all fronts; for those not accustomed to listening to noise or the absolute lowest of lo-fi black metal, Apex Satanist is going to fall somewhere between a migraine and the head explosion scene in Scanners. For those of us that are musical masochists, well, it doesn’t get much more aurally punishing than this.
Every single aspect of the band’s approach hurts; the drums sound like someone taking a jackhammer to a large chunk of scrap metal with a microphone strapped to it and the guitars are a swarming, hellish mass of chaotic anti-riffs, while the distorted, revebed-to-hell vocal chunder swallows up the music whenever it appears. Nyogthaeblisz don’t so much write songs as carve sharp weapons out of sound and then stab you in the skull with them repeatedly. It’s cruel, ugly and unforgiving, which is everything black metal should be.
Apex Satanist is one of the most abrasive collections of music I’ve heard in a long time; it will be interesting to see if Nyogthaeblisz can somehow manage to make their sound even less accessible for their upcoming debut album. Until then, this is a great release for those who wish to explore the intersection between lo-fi black metal and harsh noise, or want to experience the sonic equivalent of having their ear-holes scrubbed bloody with steel wool.