0XiST - _Nil_
(Ostra Records / Cold Void Emanations, 2012)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
Finnish band 0XiST, pronounced 'Zero Exist', released _Nil_ in the very last days of 2012, but its existence has become known to me only recently. I'm mentioning this due to the fact time has come for previous year's lists featuring what we think were the better musical moments captured on tape in the year 2012; I have a hunch it could have felt at home with 2012's best of the best.

Exercising a singular sound that's somewhere between Danish one-man band Sol's _Let There Be a Massacre_ era and Celtic Frost's highly acclaimed _Monotheist_, with some traces of V:28 worship (this is of course only a mere educated speculation, for 0XiST might have never heard of a band called V:28), _Nil_ is a concoction of bleakness and accessibility, and that's wonderful because this very user-friendliness allows you to easily sit through the album and really enjoy it; the quasi-user friendly melodies pin you down to your chair and make you fucking listen.

Comprised mostly of ex-members hailing from high caliber doom-oriented bands of the Finnish scene (Colosseum, Saattue and Let Me Dream, among others), the musical language of doom is not unfamiliar to the members of 0XiST, who offer a fluent, sombre and basic, guitar-driven gray world of shadow and industry.

The monolithic, low-toned and often monotonous nature of the album enhances its apocalyptic soundscapes; slow, cold and industrially-inclined, the corroded and simple riffs are mostly sustained; prolonged low frequencies coupled with hinted melodic nuances. In addition, granular, dirty, chugging rhythm guitars aided by a robust rhythm section are mostly dictating the pace of the more rhythmic moments.

Dubbing their style 'dark metal', 0XiST who are Finnish, do put up a fight against the Swiss masters of that subgenre (namely Samael, Alastis, Celtic Frost in their latest reincarnation) and while their brand of dark metal is devoid of keyboards and has a general stripped-down, basic, even skeletal feel to it (along the lines of Bethlehem sans the crazy shit and the depressive, suicidal shtick), _Nil_ is nevertheless a perfect admixture of black, doom and death metal with some truly phenomenal moments.

The album's linear simplicity and lack of layered depth have all been compensated by the sublime songwriting ability and the superb presentation of the album; the sound that's sinister and sludgy; the atmosphere that's depraved and ever melancholic; the pure perfection of the songs displaying not a single weak moment.

Especially prominent are those moments where a high-pitched beckoning lead guitar plays simultaneously with the chugging rhythm guitar, both playing parallel to each other and while not meeting, while sounding in total opposition to one another, these alienated extremes strangely yet beautifully converge. These moments in time are almost transcendental, while the majority of the album is the opposite, being earthen and worldly and crude.

Our suggestion: play this album loud while sitting in a deep, soft, comfortable armchair. Follow the lyrics for a while, then close your eyes and sink into oblivion.

Contact: http://www.zeroexist.net

(article published 2/3/2013)

2/16/2015 C Drishner 7.5 0Xist - One Eon
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