Swedish horde Nefandus was formed more than two decades ago by e.g. Mika ‘Belfagor’ Hakola, whom you might know from, for example, Ofermod, Leidungr or Serpent Noir. In that period Nefandus released the album The Nightwinds Carried Our Names via defunct Secula Delenda. And I was not really impressed back then. The Nightwinds Carried Our Names surely was not bad, but at that moment there were lots of releases within the very same style, which actually sounded more attractive (this isn’t but my personal opinion; you do not need to agree, of course). Anyway, then Nefandus seemed to fade away and the members focused on their other bands and projects. But Belfagor decided to reform the band at the end of last decade, and a first result was the sophomore full length, Death Holy Death, released in 2009 via Belfagor’s label Left Light Emanations (and if I’m not mistaken, it’s the sole release on that label???). In 2012 Nefandus signed to the great Daemon Worship-roster (located in the U.S. of A., but originating from Russia), and it led to the release of the EP Your God Is A Ghost. And now we are able to ‘enjoy’ the next opus, full length number three, Reality Cleaver.
Well, I have to admit that time helps to grow (knowledge and experience). In comparison to the early years, the progression is enormous. Still Nefandus perform rather typifying Swedish (Black) Metal, but it’s not full of clichés and predictability anymore. The tracks are melodic and powerful, but the overall speed did slow down. No, this band does not decelerate into Doom Epic, but the slower tempo covers the whole in a darker and denser veil of heavy fog (or is it foggy heaviness?). Together with the brutal production (yes, the studio duties have been done with a focus on massiveness), this slowed-down speed create an atmosphere that brings words like ‘necrotic’, ‘funereal’ and ‘morbid’ to mind; even ‘groovy’ might not be that strange. It gets clear as from the very first track, Verses From The Chaoverse, with its hypnotic riffs and uncompromising structure. I will repeat my appreciation and respect for this evolution.
But next thing needs to be said. Reality Cleaver brings not a new dimension of bleakness. The stuff grooves and pounds, yet it might not conquer. I still do not think these guys truly created an own identity (they do within most of the other bands they are involved with). But since the evolution isn’t but a positive thing when reflecting on Nefandus’ permanent progression, I have to end with a positive note, of course. Here it comes: ‘positive note’. This said…
Three additions. First of all the last track, Scorn Of The All-Mind, which is little different, i.e. more melodious, integer and occult. It comes with a vibe that isn’t that far away from Goth-Death Rock, and it includes female vocals (no idea who does perform them) and male vocals performed by Thomas Eriksson (think: Year Of The Goat, Griftegård or Bokor amongst others). Little differing from the main part of the album, yet still recognizable (especially the riffing continues the line of Reality Cleaver).
Secondly, the lyrics has been created with some guest writers, like Andreas ‘Værulv’ Eriksson (from defunct Grand Illusion), Johannes ‘Tehôm’ Kvarnbrink (Ofermod, Mortuus), and Grim Vindkall (of Cursed 13 / Snakeskin Angels / Domgård / Nox Aurea-fame).
Tertio. Nowadays, the band recruited new members, amongst whom Stefan Kronqvist, active in Deathquintet (formerly active under the moniker Sargatanas Reign).