As implied by the album’s title, Nightmarer construct a soul-crushing cacophony on their debut full-length, Cacophony of Terror.
Comprised of current and former members of War From a Harlots Mouth, The Ocean and Gigan, Nightmarer are no strangers to things of the technical and unorthodox variety. The band appeared seemingly out of nowhere in 2016 with the release of their debut EP, Chasm. Though only consisting of two, relatively short tracks, the sound on Chasm was staggeringly massive. Bludgeoning grooves, atonal riffs, and waves of dissonance converged upon one another to create a malestrom of death metal chaos. This mere seven-minute release, not to mention the band’s impressive pedigree, was enough to pique some fairly heavy interest in Nightmarer and what they would do next. Now the international trio return to drag listeners back into the abyss with their highly-anticipated full-length debut.
Picking up where its predecessor left off, Cacophony of Terror builds a tremendous, bleak wall of sound that gradually engulfs listeners into its swirling void of tech metal destruction. Unlike other bands lumped into the “technical death metal” category, Nightmarer rely on atmosphere and sheer sonic weight, rather than frenetic guitar acrobatics. The result is a controlled, claustrophobic approach that utilizes extensive layering and spacing to create a hulking mass of sound, while still being undoubtedly complex. This towering blend of death metal marches steadfast through 10 intertwining songs, making for an unyielding and unforgiving listen.
The record begins its descent into madness on the aptly titled instrumental, “The Descent”. The roughly 97-second track gives listeners a taste of what’s to come with its stampede of bellowing grooves, lurching, atonal riffs, and pulverizing drumming. The track bleeds into “Stahlwald”, which spawns from the dissonance of its predecessor and immediately tramples the listener with unstoppable blast beats, sprawling, angular riffs and galloping, palm-muted mayhem. Propelled by bestial vocals, the track acts as a thunderous death march that leads listeners from an unholy beating, to a violent death at its climax.
Insanity further ensues in tracks like “Bleach” and “Cave Digger”. The former track unleashes a deadly cycle of riffs, tuned to subterranean lows, that transition back-and-forth between off-kilter, chugging beatdowns, to disfigured, atmospheric terror throughout. “Cave Digger”, in contrast, is an unstoppable assault of trudging, seismic sludge that hammers its way across three minutes with city-leveling riffs. “Tidal Waves of Terror” also stands out from the pack with its slow-burning descent into Hell, morphing from Gorgutsian angularity, to haunting atmospherics, to earth-shattering, disfigured sludge riffs.
The album is brought to a close by the one-two punch of “Death” and “Swansong”. “Death” begins with eerie soundscapes that are illuminated by the terrifying, madman shrieks of Alan Dubin (ex-Khanate, Gnaw). The song then erupts into a cataclysmic display of brute doom, peppered with dissonant swells, that is spearheaded by Dubin and frontman John Collet, who trade vocal blows throughout. The song eventually reaches a climax of feverish noise, which then transitions into “Swansong”‘s closing wall of sonic horror.
Nightmarer‘s Cacophony of Terror is a cold, calculated assault on the senses, as well as the body. People looking to be crushed should look no further.
Release Date: March 23, 2018
Label: Season of Mist
Favorite Tracks: “Stahlwald”, “Skinner”, “Tidal Waves of Terror”, “Ceremony of Control” and “Death”
For Fans Of: Coma Cluster Void, Meshuggah, Gorguts and Portal