Review: The Loom of Time – NihilReich

Review: The Loom of Time – NihilReich

Nov 30



The Loom of Time – NihilReich  (Death/Black Metal, ATMF)

Released Dec. 2nd, 2016 (CD release)


Originally released independently back in March, Australian blackened death metallers The Loom of Time’s debut album, NihilReich, has now received a proper CD release through underground label ATMF. The record is a concise and catchy platter of homages to the old guard of black metal and doom, doused in a lyrical theme of misanthropy and nihilism. While it does borrow from obvious sources, the music is nonetheless modern sounding in its construction, and comes across as more of a welcome reinterpretation rather than a retro homage to the proto-period of three of metal’s main branches.

The album establishes its range fairly early on with “Ashes of Your Fall”, a hard driving and aggressive song that can also lay down some proper doom atmosphere. Indeed, most of the tracks feature a broad delivery of complementary styles, from vicious blasts, mid-tempo chugging, and pendulum-swinging doom. While the band may be purists of a sort for a certain time period, they are certainly not purists for a specific genre. As mentioned, this album knows who came before it; there are strong odes to Bathory, Immortal, and Candlemass among others presented in the songs. It’s quite apparent that the late 80’s/early 90’s divergent point of death, doom, and black metal is the main fountain of inspiration from which the music is derived. There are furious blastbeats, tremolo picking, and rasped vocals of black metal, dirge-like doom metal hymns, and pummeling death metal styles all working together in a well crafted mix. It’s not just through style that The Loom of Time channels their elders, either; they utilized a piece from Sir Francis Dicksee for their cover art, the same early twentieth century artist behind Bathory’s Hammerheart.

But despite the hooks, riffing, and even tonal choices that harken back to the classics, this music is crafted in a very forward thinking way. The modern progressions and song structures evolved out of the Swedish melodic metal scene are used as a foundation to assemble these elemental flairs around. It’s easy to listen to NihilReich and imagine a scenario in which the early 90’s bands that The Loom of Time takes its queues from had maintained their primal bite and passion and progressed into more dynamic, melodic, and crafty songwriters. Perhaps if Dissection or Carcass had not had their middle periods of non-existence, or if the aforementioned Bathory not come to a permanent end, maybe this could be reminiscent of that sound.




Lyrically and thematically, the title of the album is quite apt, both in the misanthropy suggested in the first part of the portmanteau and, uncomfortably, the connotations generally conjured by the last. Bitter existentialism is the platform each track is based on, espousing a condemnation on basic human nature regarding greed, ignorance, self-worth, and apathy. However, it’s not all gloom, doom, and an unresolved teen angst focused through a prism of too many Nietzsche books; there is a somewhat more thoughtful turn of rationalism and perhaps even a charred ember of compassion to be found within. This twist of something that could almost be called optimism (if you squint your eyes just right) becomes a strange sort of dichotomy in “The Fight for the Subhuman”, in which groups of the human race (non-white males) are classified as ‘subhuman’ and yet argues that they no less deserve the right of life and voice. The middle verse expresses this philosophical arc by framing the subject in an head-shakingly supremacist view:

Each time we have been shown,

Through scientific rigour,

That these creatures that look just like us,

Are somehow inferior,

…before resolving with the somewhat skewed humanist conclusion:

And every single time we were wrong,

Just because the evidence,

Shows us that they’re different,

Doesn’t mean that they do not belong.

While part of the perspective that ideology is expressed from is questionable at best and hateful at worst, it at the very least lends itself to a more thoughtful and philosophical approach than the carte blanche pessimism black metal often wallows within. Like the music they are set to, the lyrics offer an element further progressed from the base the album is set on, making for a listening experience that looks backwards just as much as it does forward.

Conclusion: NihilReich is a pure yet progressive take on classic black, death, and doom metal’s forebearers. Taking the best elements of those branches’ early 90’s period and giving them a modernized delivery makes for a furious, catchy, and bleak assault.


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