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Label: Art Gates Records

Date: October 30th, 2020

You know what? Let’s take a look at what mischief Enthroned is involved these days. Oh, wait! Seems like there’s something going on next door. Let me check it out for you…

All jokes aside, with a relatively small amount of bands coming out of Belgium, you cannot be too picky. Especially within the black metal circles. Fortunately, you need not be picky as another gem has emerged from the Belgian netherworld. And it is dubbed Nether…

When it comes to debuts, let me assure you I haven’t had an opportunity to encounter such a strong one in ages. There is fresh energy, there is promise of some future upheaval, there’s talent too. And then there is Nether, a fresh formation which appears with a record that will captivate all the loyal black metal followers.

It’s not that the Belgian quartet reinvented the wheel. They did not. But this is a masterclass performance of what you can do with the existing patterns. If you put some thought to them, of course.

“Between Shades and Shadows” is a case of marvelously intertwined particles of different black metal legacies into one coherent delivery. The point where you can make a reference to a hundred more or less known bands, but still cannot put a finger on any of them as primary source of Belgians’ inspiration. The record is raw as much as it is melodic. It is atmospheric, as much as it is forcefully determined. Nether is primeval, yet skillful. Technically advanced, yet straight forward. These arrangements are mesmerizing. The drummer deserves an award of some sort for his involvement in the overall soundscape. The way he uses his kit to further improve the already engaging parts is phenomenal. Guitars are written with style and developed to perfection, so that you can almost feel them unfolding the tracks before your very ears. Bass guitar is driving quite close to the above mentioned instruments giving the “extra meat” to the full on assault of “Between Shades and Shadows”. With quite suggestive vocal execution, the album is rounded up into a momentous work by experienced musicians in sheep’s clothing.

To call any recording a masterpiece these days carries way too much weight. To call Nether’s debut such is probably an overstatement. However, to give it credit is an absolute must. Do not, and I repeat, do not miss this record as soon as it rears it shadowy head out of the pressing plant. Debut of the year, at least in black metal. No doubt about it!

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