Brazilian Black Metal Album: ‘Nihil Est Monastica’ by Patria
Reviewing the return of the South American Black Metal pathfinders.
From my latest series of album reviews, I bring you Nihil Est Monastica by Brazilian Black Metal pathfinders: PATRIA.
Brazilian band Patria released their Saturnian album Nihil Est Monastica with the seal of the French cult label Drakkar Productions. The dark opus brings forward an organic and raw Black Metal, in line with the primal sound of the 90s.
The graphic designer Costin Chioreanu was in charge of the album artwork. Costin has worked with bands such as Darkthrone, Ulver, Aura Noir and was responsible for the cover art for “Onyx” by the Portuguese gothic act Ava Inferi, which I’ve already reviewed here.
About the Album
The band planned to release the album on March 13, 2013 (13.03.13) to benefit from the symbolic power of the number 13. However, they had to postpone the release after receiving news from the record company in charge of pressing Nihil Est Monastica. Allegedly due to “electrical failure,” the producers halted the whole process, and the album wasn’t released as originally scheduled.
This was an odd “electrical failure,” and we will never know if this wasn’t a marketing move to highlight a release that was planned to emerge from the darkness on a day laden with negative and funereal connotations and usually associated with bad luck.
Everything seemed to come together so that Nihil Est Monastica, the fifth work from Mantus (the driving force and creative epicenter of Patria), was consecrated as a touchstone within the band’s discography.
In this epitome of evil, the complexity of the rhythmic work stands out, namely, at the percussion level. The rate of sonic brutality goes beyond heavy drumming. It can be found in the syncopated alternations between rhythms of different speeds and intensity, namely in some of the album’s best tracks: “Ravens Almighty” and “Dark Cosmic Legend.”
Also noteworthy is the Saturnian lyricism we find for instance in "Conquering Death's Palace: "No life... Faith based on misery /Forsaken spirits / Worshiping / The new dark era / Father of Sun / Take us / To the palace of death / Where the shadows / Inhabit the light."
The intricate voluptuousness of a sullen bass that seeks to lure the lines of sonic distortion weaved by the guitars further intensifies the rhythmic ecstasy. Patria’s sound has grown, but the band continues to convey music that, according to Mantus, still maintains the necro and low-fi identity from the early days of Black Metal.
Those who think that Patria let their guard down should reconsider. Nihil Est Monastica is raw Black Metal wrapped in the grim and malevolent murkiness of the most ominous obscurity. This brings forward tracks full of seductive perfidy, as is the case of “Nyctophilia,” a condition that makes you want to sit in the dark all by yourself at night.
Therefore, the album presents several points of interest, being possible to add outstanding moments such as “Evoking the Ancient Spirits” and the fantastic “homage” to the cult band of Brazilian extreme metal, Sarcófago; with the fulminating cover “Black Vomit.”
I would like to recall the band’s programmatic manifesto: “Patria is not about politics or regionalist thoughts. It’s just about Black Metal and the rise of darkness! This is our home, our land; this is our Patria!!!”
The music entices those who dare to enter the granitic, sepulchral atrium of Patria unprepared. These terrifying alleys, surrounded by crypts and cadaverous tombs, are not for the faint of heart because here, as in Dante’s Inferno, one reads in igneous words: “Abandon all hope whoever enters here.” Form here onwards burn the infernal flames of true South American Black Metal.
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