Zemial
Nykta


2.5
average

Review

by Magnus Altkula STAFF
October 3rd, 2013 | 17 replies | 4,282 views


Release Date: 10/31/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Welcome back the metal of the early 1990s

Fun fact: Nykta’s press release ended with the question "Many will embark on its path...but where will you end up?" The answer seems to be an unequivocal "back in time," as the album provides us a perfect example of a band stuck in the past. The album sounds like it’s straight from the early 1990s (and influenced by the metal of the '80s), but not in a nostalgic kind of way – it literally sounds like it was composed and (to a lesser extent) recorded then. Whether that sounds appealing or not will already determine if one can find enjoyment in it. Even though there is a multitude of influences at play in the songwriting department, the core elements of Nykta sound dated. It’s a shame really, because under the tired rhythm riffs, unimaginative black-thrash and off-kilter vocals, some adequate arrangements and semi-successful genre-hopping can be found, but they are not enough to salvage what is otherwise an album that just doesn’t excite in 2013. That doesn’t mean Nykta is a bad record – the material is far from cringe worthy and compositionally it has its moments – but the time when this kind of metal (Zemial is heavily influenced by the first wave of black metal as well as early thrash metal) took the world by storm is long gone: the better works from that era have deservedly survived in the collective memory of metalheads around the globe and already claimed their rightful place in metal history. Zemial is a little late to the party with Nykta, which doesn’t exactly light the world on fire anyhow, regardless of its progressive leanings. Like that, it’s somewhat comparable to a meal at a restaurant that you couldn’t finish and took home: it was damn tasty when it was hot and fresh right in front of you, but the remnants that you intend to eat later on just won’t taste the same anymore.

The moments when Nykta does catch flight come when the atmospheric side, rather than the black-thrash metal, is emphasized. The album’s best track is undoubtedly "In The Arms of Hades" which, driven by a sentimental candle-lit atmosphere, manages to successfully take the listener back about twenty to thirty years through enchanting leadwork, while the delicate, five-minute instrumental "The Small" also conjures up pleasant images. "Pharos" (the album’s longest-running track) on its part is a perfect example of an overkill, though. It starts out well enough, but runs out of steam quickly as its theatrical antics fail to amuse and the atmosphere isn’t as gripping as on "In The Arms of Hades." There are a few more gratifying sections to be found on the album, but in general it sounds too obsolete. I'm all for throwback and vintage records, but to get them right bands must simultaneously be able to exhibit what was great about past music while putting their own stamp on it, not sound like left-behind varlets. Furthermore, I find no artistic value in the closing track "Out Of The Cage – (3:33 for Drumset and Mechanical)," which is inspired by John Cage’s composition "4:33." It’s obvious what Zemial’s Archon Vorskaath wanted to achieve when he said "a track of that kind - meant to make people think - might elicit interesting responses," but the idea of using it as the final track was doomed from the start and the song would’ve worked only in the middle of the album, if at all. As a closer it is pretty much filler. I feel there’s no need for another 4 minutes and 33 seconds of almost utter silence masquerading as a track at the end of this (or, for that sake, any) album – if I wish to contemplate over the record I just heard, I can just refrain from putting on anything new.

Nykta isn’t a bad work of art per se and its disposition towards including psychedelic atmospheres every now and then is a welcome sight – without them the album would sound horribly arid. Yet, while some very select fans of the metal of yore may find it to be a decent record, embracing its warm analog production and archaic black-thrash, for these ears Nykta just isn’t special enough. The galloping guitars sound stale and the songs in general should’ve been more incisive. The album is intended as half-part homage to metal of the past, half-part statement of progression, but it’s not instrumentally commanding nor fresh enough to convincingly pull off either. As such, the chances of it finding wide-range recognition in the underground are slim. "In The Arms of Hades" makes for a decent playlist track, but the rest of Nykta is ultimately forgettable.



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user ratings (6)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2013



5909 Comments


Two songs from the album - "Under Scythian Command" and "Pharos" - are streaming here (eventually the link will become a full album stream):

http://hellsheadbangers.bandcamp.com/album/nykta


Current album stream: http://www.ztmag.com/exclusive.html



Good review, will listen to the tracks when I get home.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
October 3rd 2013



11793 Comments


summary got me pumped for some MYSTIK

Digging: Tenement - Taking Everything b?/?w Daylight World Plus 2

osmark86
October 3rd 2013



3768 Comments


seems some other band had a similar album art idea...

bloc
October 3rd 2013



34669 Comments


Some other band? More like ten others.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

Smial
October 3rd 2013



800 Comments


summary had me thinking that this was aoty material -_-

Eunuch
October 3rd 2013



1227 Comments


I refuse to believe this is a 2.5 This is the guitarist from His Majesty at the Swamp after all.

Katechon
October 3rd 2013



684 Comments


Zemial released a new album? Might have to check this shit out.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2013



8317 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5


I refuse to believe this is a 2.5 This is the guitarist from His Majesty at the Swamp after all.
For those who liked Zemial before this might very well be a solid record. It just didn't do it for me. If you're into the guy's previous works you (as in everyone who liked his previous material) should still proceed to check this out.

EDIT: once it's released of course (31.10). I'm sorry I reviewed this so early but I just got the inspiration to write something up for this and since I got some other albums I'm more or less obligated to review as well (due to snagging the promos) it helped me to clear my plate a bit.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2013



5909 Comments


I listened to the two streaming tracks, they are decent but not mind blowing in any case.

The "problem" with one-man bands is that their masterminds tend to be overwhelmed by their obsessions and while sometimes this situation leads to great albums, in most cases the result is decent at best.

TheMoreira
October 4th 2013



6783 Comments


http://f0.bcbits.com/img/a4022906404_2.jpg

Digging: 68 - In Humor and Sadness

Parallels
October 4th 2013



6640 Comments


raise your hand if you came in here expecting an aoty/superb rating because of the summary

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2013



18005 Comments


yeah this sounds shitty

its 2013 i think throwback metal is just about done

which i guess means metal is done since new metal sucks too

Digging: Autechre - Draft 7.30

Relinquished
October 4th 2013



24407 Comments


you're just saying that cuz you're more electronic than you used to be

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2013



18005 Comments


nah i havent heard a metal album thats really gripped me for far too long at this point. the only one i even care about anymore is obliteration.

i just feels like ive heard it all, theres nowhere else to go but backwards and thats all been done too. why listen to new things when what ive already heard is better?

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
October 4th 2013



11793 Comments


wow dude dont kill yourself over it

Relinquished
October 4th 2013



24407 Comments


yo bro meshuggah's still around wrecking shit u should get on that koloss if u know what's good

Relinquished
October 4th 2013



24407 Comments


plus there's only so much you can do with 4-5 instruments compared to engineering the hell out of sine
waves

slipknot tried more but we know how that went



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