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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Review: Niebla Funeraria / Xerión – Split

Label: Nigra Mors Productions

Date: May 31st, 2020

Pushing split tapes has become a specialty for Nigra Mors Productions and Xerión. What’s more, they seem to have the peculiar ability to find very interesting bands to place beside themselves. And usually very much unknown bands. Such is the case with this cassette, too.

Niebla Funeraria is no newcomer to the scene, having been around for over a decade, but this is my first encounter with the band. Though originally a one-man band, they are now a full quartet from Asturias, a neighboring region of Spain to Xerión’s Galicia.

They are opening this split with three tracks. Two of them are brand new songs, and the third has appeared before on their debut demo. Needless to say, Niebla Funeraria is a black metal band. Their focus is somewhat blurred between the primal aggression, melodic overtakes and atmospheric surroundings. Of course, their main source of inspiration comes from the far north of Europe. Recognizable Norway styled cold riffing is prevalent throughout the songs. However, they are nicely intersected with a number of melodic lead guitar sections, strengthened by the drum pummeling in the best tradition of the genre. Also present, are the atmospheric segments, usually in the form of interludes which further make Niebla Funeraria’s songs diverse. All of these elements are certainly well connected and make for a fine flowing material. I would still like to emphasize the vocals, as they are the one point of the band where I cannot quite make up my mind. At times I find this “battle” between the harsh growls, rabid screams and deep shouts very fitting, but at others it is almost annoying.

Still, the three songs presented here give out a picture of a band that knows what black metal stands for. They’ve studied their history without skipping a lesson, but still managed not to sound like simpletons of the “trve” family.

Now, I’ve stopped counting my attempts to bring you closer to the Galician duo. Xerión is celebrating two decades of existence this year and these two tracks perfectly show the point this band has reached in that timeframe. Though still keeping close to the origins of their folklore laced crude black metal, Xerión is also able to move ahead and present very original music. From their native traditional chanting in the opening of “Derradeira saudade na lua lânguida” to majestic keyboard instrumentation within this ten minute track, to the church choir shifting into a desperate cry from the cosmic depths of the second track “Luminescência”. It all basically screams of black metal you’ve never heard before.

The two songs that represent the Xerión’s “B” side of the tape have appeared before on the EP titled as the first track on this split. Nonetheless, they are worthy of some repeat time, as most of Nigra Mors Productions records are strictly limited to a 100 pieces. Just like this split cassette.

Hence, I would urge some label with enough of an ear, to pick it up and make it into a CD or at least another run of the tape. The material put together by Niebla Funeraria and Xerión is well worth it.