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Ysengrin / Black Grail – Nigrum Nigrius Nigro Split LP


Last Updated on 09:02 PM by Giorgos Tsekas

Genre: Experimental Black Metal
Countries: France / Chile
Labels: Nuclear War Now! / I, Voidhanger Records
Year: 2015

This release is one of the strangest things I’ve listened to lately. And by “strange,” I don’t mean that it has nothing notable to offer or that the result in repelling. On contraire. We are talking about a split release between the French band Ysengrin and the Chilean band Black Grail, whose music can fuck you up really good. The record at hand is entitled “Nigrum Nigrius Nigro” and was released in December 2015 with the partnership of Nuclear War Now! and I, Voidhanger Records.

The record has a total duration of half an hour, almost equally distributed between the two groups. On Side A we stumble upon the work of Ysengrin, who offer us four pieces that – at best – intensify our already acquired psychological problems.

Ysengrin, for those who aren’t familiar with the band yet, has always been a group that marches on its own paths, going against the current musical boundaries and conformism that have been at times imposed in music. They have carved their own way in the course of history, with unique releases, each of which has to offer something different. Their identity is formed and based on a mix of original compositions, the use complex instruments and vocals of broad spectrum; a blend that cannot let the band go unnoticed.

So, elaborating on the split release, everything proves the aforementioned statement. The album opens with “Tenebrositas”, which for the most part is possessed by an underlying Darkwave – Synthwave – Horror Themed aesthetic, which makes you wonder if it popped suddenly out from an ’80s horror movie. The hermetic / esoteric character and brutality of Ysengrin’s music that prevailed in their previous releases, returns now with an even deeper psychedelia joined by more futuristic elements, demonstrating that blending Black Metal with other sub-genres can result into psychotropic pleasures. For example, “In Saturni Nigredine, Pt. 1” gives you the impression that you are a part of an occult rite while you orbit the planet. There aren’t any over-complicated compositions, though this simplicity conflicting with the multi – perspectivity of the vocals, adds a devilish quality to the whole set. The spiritual oscillation continues at “In Saturni Nigredine, Pt. 2”, which is even a more schizophrenic track due to the vocals performed; whispers, recitations, sharp cries mingle with your brain frequencies and haunt you forever. Ysengrin’s side closes with “Manifestation & Resonances” creating a music circle, from my point of view. The tangling of seemingly “entertaining” electronic music with strange, strangled vocal passages and samples of eerie sounds – like throwing a recording device to the exosphere and collecting the sounds produced by the solar system – is magical.

On Side B we find the work of the band Black Grail. Black Grail is a band equally “absurd” and has created its own identity in Black Metal, singling out for its ingenuity. Black Grail’s side consists of a single piece, “El Oro de los Cuervos”, which lasts a whole quarter. The composition of the track features sweltering cries and varied vocals that make you shiver. At some moments the clean vocals reminded me of souls lost in the space-time, crying and trying to find a way out to the current reality. It’s a slow-moving composition – well, at first – with simple guitars and drums accompanying them. The impact it has though is magical. Additionally, using lyrics in their own language gives an even more exotic character, making the track even more cryptic. As it progresses, the black metal aesthetics release more dominant, with an increase in rhythms in guitars and drums. I guess this is a movement that reflects 100% Black Grail’s existence and serves a proof that there are no boundaries in music. The dive into the depths of your inner world can be achieved by coupling strange genres and is waiting for you to embrace it without fear and passion.

The album is considered necessary for those who are involved with Black Metal that moves beyond the traditional forms and are open to new experimental proposals and experiences.

4.5 / 6

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