Written by Kirk
Nadir – Extinction Rituals
> Blackened hardcore
> Released May 5
We’ve all seen the arguments before: “It’s not kvlt if it’s not trve black metal!” Unfortunately, the black metal scene is awash with some of the absolute worst kind of people: Nazis, fascists, TERFs, transphobes, and a variety of other insufferable losers that honestly don’t deserve mentioning. They think that by gatekeeping black metal they can preserve some semblance of “culture” or “heritage” by keeping the vibrant, dynamic nature of black metal “pure” and free of outside influences. But what they fail to recognize is that black metal is far more interesting and provocative when fused with other genres.
But this is not news. True ‘heads have known this for years; it’s part of why we’ve worked so diligently to rid the black metal scene and heavy metal overall of these bottom feeders. Panopticon has been fusing black metal with folk and bluegrass for well over a decade. Non Serviam has fused black metal with hip hop and, more recently, post punk. Caïna has fused black metal with industrial and experimental music. And Nadir has been fusing black metal with hardcore since bursting onto the scene in 2020.
Now, don’t get me wrong; blackened hardcore is nothing new. Belgium’s Lost Baron released their debut album, Dark Messiah, just last December after releasing two EPs in 2015 and 2017. And while Nadir is a fresh name within the scene, its members are far from newcomers. Vocalist Ole Wik got his start in the sludge/stoner band Jagged Vision. Guitarist Magnus Wiig also plays in Søstre and used to play in Infensus. Drummer Jonas Bengston played in the sludge/stoner/thrash band Ocean Dweller. The only newcomer here is bassist Erik Gullesen, but you wouldn’t know it to hear how he wields his axe.
The album opens with “Void”, a dark, slow, swirling miasma of chaotic energy that builds until it explodes into “Iron Lung”, the musical equivalent of taking a bartering ram to an old wooden door. Ole’s voice is somewhere between the raspy shriek of black metal and the unhinged shouting of hardcore, a perfect balance of both styles. Up next is “The Old Wind”, more black metal than hardcore but with we very ounce of anger and attitude you can imagine, guitars buzzing like a swarm of locusts in an apocalyptic frenzy. If this song doesn’t get your blood pumping, please check your pulse; you may be dead.
The swarm of locusts has grown angry—almost violent—as it searches for its next meal. “Absolute” is something beyond feral, aggressively tumultuous and brimming with nervous energy, Ole’s anguished vocals anchored by Magnus’s riffs and Erik’s bass. Now enter “Beyond the Shadow of Death”, a song that, for lack of better terminology, lurks and stalks its listener, brimming with savage intensity. “Tenebrae” follows right after, less a song than perhaps a force of nature. It’s fascinating the way Nadir balances on the razor’s edge from song to song, shifting from hardcore to black metal and back again, sometimes within the same song.
Easily the hardest song on the whole album is up next, “A Name on Every Rope”, smashing and crashing with measured intensity like waves on a beach amidst a hurricane. Leaning back into the black metal is “I Strid”, another punishing yet meditative song, a nice change of pace from the overall breakneck vibe of the album thus far. The vibe shift continues in “The Beginning at the End”, a plodding, methodical assault on the senses highlighted by more of Ole’s anguished shrieks. And then we close with the title track, a final return to the buzzing fervor of Nadir’s black metal roots.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I’m gonna be honest here for a second: I find black metal far more intriguing as a fusion genre. There is not an album yet that is blackened something where I said, “ It’s good, but it would be better without the black metal influences.” It’s such a dynamic style and adds so much texture to the music. Nadir fuse it perfectly with their style of hardcore that you find yourself wondering what they might sound like without it. And they’ve come leaps and bounds since their debut EP, The Great Dying, in 2020. Hopefully they will continue to experiment with other extreme styles and create something new. But will they be considered pioneers or pariahs for exhibiting such hubris? Only time will tell.