Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
What is horror? Is it the monsters under your bed, or is it really just imagination. If that is the case then what if we could manifest our own fears and horror into a physical representation of that. ÆVANGELIST would be just that. Since 2010, the prolific Matron Thorn has written, composed, and authored the material for ÆVANGELIST, and has crafted new ways of manifesting horror and the otherworldy into a singular band. Sure, you could say this is black metal, death metal, avant-garde metal, etc., but it's so much more terrifying and horrific than your typical "dissonant black metal" band...or any music, for that matter.
Nightmarecatcher is the 8th full-length album from ÆVANGELIST, and marks a self-described rebirth of the band, and I'm inclined to agree.
The album begins with "Part I - The Origin and End of All : Pain of the Fallen" and this is dense from the get-go. This was an absolutely perfect way to begin the album as the first 9 minutes of this track slowly builds, and builds, and creeps along at an uncomfortable pace and progressively gets more and more noisy before finally ending with the most sinister droning atonal note dragging on before vocalist Stephane Gerbaud breaks the silence with a whispered line and then all hell breaks loose. It's very hard to describe this song. Deranged dissonant melodies are layered over top of cavernous riffs to create a sense of imbalance and fear.
"Part II - Ceremony of Decomposition of Bodies" is a twisted journey. This song morphs and evolves, and even de-evolves. There's even one point in the song where a sort of electric chime is repeated over the instruments. I also love the ending of this song, the choir vocals were a perfect addition and it makes the song sound even more frightening. "Part II" is easily the most jarring and dissonant section of this behemoth, it gets to the point where it almost hurts to listen to it, which I might add, I enjoy. I truly love when music takes you out of your comfort zone and tests your limits.
"Part III - In the Vomb of the Chaos, Source of Life Energy" begins with a fucked up and angular riff, but it's somehow strangely groovy at the same. This song probably has the most actual "riffs" but they are still quite cavernous and twisted. I also have to give major praise to Matron Thorn because the techniques he uses within this song to convey atmosphere is astonishing. Whether it's background electronics, or just noises on the guitar, to me it's highly unique and I respect that. I also want to give special note to vocalist Stephane Gerbaud, I thoroughly enjoy his performance on this album, and especially this song. He sounds maniacal, demented, but emotive. I love the way they end the album too. It's really majestic with the choir vocals in the background and the way the echo on the guitars sounds underneath it all, truly haunting.
The production on this album is quite unique, though it may be a deal-breaker for a new listener. It's cavernous, cacophanous, and schizophrenic. The guitars are searingly noisy and also the way the electronics are layered over the dissonant riffs was a genius production technique in my opinion and I really respect that. The vocals lay over the mix with usually pretty well, though sometimes the instruments overpower the vocals but 'tis a small gripe. A special note needs to be made for the artwork, courtesy of Jef Whitehead of Leviathan. It's stunning, it truly is! i love the color scheme, the actual entity on the cover, the layers to the art itself... just stellar!
What impresses me the most about Nightmarecatcher is how well it works as an album. Even with the descriptors I have used during this review, it still has some sort of cohesion and purpose and isn't just a randomly composed, overly-bloated piece of music. It has a fantastic story to go along with it, the compositions continue to build and evolve, the actual playing is highly evocative, unique, and original. Matron Thorn and Stephane Gerbaud, in their respective performances, create a strikingly visual, horrific, malevolent, and otherworldy album. This isn't just another ÆVANGELIST. This IS a rebirth, and it's a force to be reckoned with. Now all we have to do is wait for the next album, which shouldn't be too far away. I am obsessed with this album, it's a masterpiece! Strongly recommended to any fan of extreme music who likes boundaries being crushed, and being thrown out of their comfort-zone.
ÆVANGELIST - Nightmarecatcher was released Feb. 2020 from Hells Headbangers
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.