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Label: Void Wanderer Productions / War Productions

Date: July 25th, 2024

When this band debuted, four years ago, they were among the first ones reviewed in the newly formed Abaddon Magazine. But that fact is hardly a reason for any musical entity to make a subsequent appearance on these here pages. Nor would Nether appear again if they were a fine example of musical creation. There were many good bands that haven’t made it back, which speaks volumes about how good they actually were. And what being a good band means in the scheme of things on today’s scene. Impressions can be deceitful.

These Belgians, however, weren’t good. They were bloody magnificent! Their brand of old black metal that wasn’t wrapped in sheepskin’s clothing, but instead was crafted out of pure, unbridled creative imagination. There wasn’t anything new, but it sounded like a shot of adrenaline straight into the failing heart of old school black metal. Where majority of their colleagues hid themselves behind washed-out paroles and primitivity as a credo, Nether stabbed by delivering segment after segment of fiery worship, until the songs were but deadly blows on the listener.

How they weren’t picked up by a major label after “Between Shades and Shadows” is beyond me. On that subject, kudos to Void Wanderer Productions and War Productions for picking up this gem!

And gem it is! Right on the path of the debut album, the sophomore, “The Blood of Rats” is a mighty punch into whatever is stale in the marshes of black metal. Disarming guitar melodies in flawless harmony with the commanding vocals, yet contrasted by the brutally sharp tremolos and threatening screams. Outstanding drumming, that takes its natural course rather than obeying to genre’s rules, is complemented by the very actively participating bass guitar, tying it all together. Again, contrasted by the pulverizing rhythmic machinegun fire. There’s more than enough evidence that these fellows work hard and dedicated on their individual parts, but also together as a band on shaping it all into one homogenous whole.

But all the mastery in handling instruments would be of no avail if there was no bonding agent, which is the songwriting itself. Nether are displaying a definite mastery in that regard. And they are not following a formula they found on the previous record. For example, “Between Shades and Shadows” had one song more than “The Blood of Rats”, but it was five minutes shorter in total. The songs have grown longer, but the band doesn’t employ complexity to fill the space in order for their music to seem more evolved or intelligent. The arrangements have, of course, become bigger. You can’t have seven minute long tracks without it. However, they are the result of songs growing taller, not the other way around. What I mean is that these songs are made to flow for however long they need be and just then did the band sit down and work out how to make their audience not fall asleep while the record is still spinning. Instead of just feeling like their songs need to be long and turning to tricks in order to make them so.

There’s no fooling with “The Blood of Rats”. It’s an album that is fiercely aggressive, darkly melodic, ominously atmospheric and altogether a feast at the grand temple of black metal, where once sat the greatest of the great. Nether may have been a newcomer and a name to look out for, four years ago. Today, they are proving to be a force to be reckoned with. “There’s No Horizon”, “No Proof of Light”, so let “The Blood of Rats” flow “For Your Own Glory”! Else, “Bow for Your Redeemer”!

 

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