Nehemah - _Light of a Dead Star_
(Oaken Shield / Adipocere, 2002)
by: David Rocher (8 out of 10)
It has now been nearly a decade since the black metal project Nehemah, fronted by mastermind and bassist/vocalist Corven, appeared amidst the evil shadows of the French black metal scene. Fusing in soul and mind with the essence of underground musical extremism, Nehemah recorded only one very limited demo, back in 1996, prior to the release of this first full-length on the French label Oaken Shield in 2001. Norwegian black metal is undoubtedly Nehemah's greatest influence, as _Light of a Dead Star_ revels in saturated, unhallowed musical realms bearing the stigma of holy Darkthrone's meisterwerks _Under a Funeral Moon_ (for the haunting, eerily melodic tones it displays) and _A Blaze in the Northern Sky_ (for the driving mid-tempo power and blasting segues _LoaDS_ frequently erupts into); slants of Mayhem's _De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas_ are also to be heard, in particular as regards the pleasantly technical drumming and chilling guitar lines, quite reminiscent of the late Euronymous' works. Nehemah's strongest point nonetheless undisputedly remains the competence and ease they display when meshing their musical proficiency with the traditionally coarse grain of underground black metal; although it is a proven fact that technical competence is clearly not an key element to a good black metal album, musical mastery such as that displayed by Nehemah's line-up definitely adds a whole new touch to this collection of bewitching anthems: spine-tingling ambience fuses with crushing power and amazing dynamics as slow, chilling parts laced with synthetic-laden atmospheres brutally erupt into blasting onslaughts or monolithic mid-tempo drives. In addition to this, _LoaDS_ is graced with a truly excellent production -- murky, saturated and raucous, yet very ample, and offering each musician's performance suitable exposure, providing this slab of unhallowed blackness with what I consider as the most fitting kind of production for an underground black metal recording. From the chilling beauty of the eight-minute anthem "Nehemah in Vulva Infernum" (which contains more than a slight hint at Marduk's hymnic "Dracul Va Domni...") to the almost death metal intensity of the riffing on "Misty Swamps", _LoaDS_ is definitely one of the finer samples of what raw, yet elaborate black metal has to offer these days. Devoted souls growing tired of black metal superproductions such as Dark Funeral's (nonetheless superb) latest opus can wisely turn to Nehemah's first full-length for a dose of blackened harshness and grandeur.

(article published 3/7/2002)

10/19/2004 P Azevedo 8.5 Nehemah - Requiem Tenebrae
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