Ah, Sweden, there is very little you can do wrong when it comes to metal. And so it was easy to welcome Mephorash into a dark embrace from the start. Unsurprisingly for the region, the epic production, keen ear for melody, and above all, putrid heaviness of this record are all available in great proportion. Have some black metal today, yes?
Getting right into it...dat intro. "Riphyon - The Tree of Assiyah Putrescent" is a monster of a track. Like many superstitions about bad things, the drums, conjurations, and distortion all hit in 3's. Surely this is a recording of a particularly ominous black mass. And I love how the simplicty of the guitar leaves ample space for the choral background. You will be thankful at the length of this track, because you will not want it to end.
But the methodical first act belies the eruption to come. Blastbeats and a triumphant, The Satanist-level build and vocal performance are even further emphasized by the sudden gap of silence between. This is song structure and dynamics at their best. Vocals exhibit multiple macabre and maniacal approaches: Shagrath croaks and Nergal growls take hold before an interlude that made my daughter ask why I was listening to a "haunted house." Organ music, and then, full-on Pest proclamations and theatrics.
And all of that...still just the first song. Fortunately, all 4 of these tracks are excellent and had me at the edge of my seat. Mephorash can also get a little doomy sometimes, but it's rarely long before the double bass rides you down again. And I just love the various symphic additions: choir, bells, ambiance. Great atmosphere. "Berberioth - Vandalising the Throne of Atziluth" also has a crunchy-ass bassline that you need to hear to comprehend its power.
Coming full circle, 1557 Rites of Nullification ends as just as it began. Hitting repeat results in a sickening spiral of despair. I have seen a lot of bands use the imagery of the snake eating itself for album art, but I feel the concept would have been best suited to an album such as this. You can stream 2 tracks below, but the digipack is available through Odium Records. If you wanted a digital version, there's no bandcamp, but you can also find it on Amazon and likely iTunes. Don't miss out.