Nixil – From the Wound Spilled Forth Fire

Scream Blast Repeat enjoyed Nixil’s 2021 debut, All Knots Untied. We remarked that ‘Black metal is a crowded field, but Nixil find it easy to avoid cliché. Their music embraces a progressive soundscape that promises much and delivers more in abundance.’ Now, the anti-cosmic black metal quintet return with their sophomore LP after signing a deal with the mighty Prosthetic Records, and they know that this is their time to burnish their credentials as one of America’s most exciting extreme metal bands. From the Wound Spilled Forth Fire is a menacing piece of audio chaos that slithers through the speakers like a growth of poisonous fungi. Those that like their metal raw and noisy and unencumbered by the gloss of ProTools are in for a treat.

The group’s debut record took pride in describing the downfall of human civilisation, but this effort takes aim at the creator-God theory of how humans came into existence. It celebrates the downfall of the demiurge (e.g., divine beings, like Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad) that imprisoned man as a follower of rules, and it depicts the liberation of humanity as a return to the absolute chaos that brings true freedom. In nothingness is everything. The void is the only state of existence that is eternal and free from cause and effect.

You’ll be surprised by the fervency of this message in opening track, ‘Collapsing the Poles’, which lingers for seven minutes and eleven seconds in a permanent state of malevolent posturing. A fade-in of dissonant chords and whispered incantations gives way to panned guitars fretting dirty tremolo patterns that would not be out of place on the last Watain album. Listen to the loud thud of the bass rumbling underneath. It’s like they decided to record a ghost track in the studio as a live band and then keep this as their main track to engineer at the mixing desk. Most bands will use the ghost track and then re-record their individual parts over it. Not Nixil. There are no plug ins here, no digital enhancements, no excess reverb. The demonic vocals wheeze in a plume of catarrh-filled perfidy. Blast beats seldom take control of the rhythms.

You can listen to this album for the intricacy of the guitars alone. The overflow of electricity powering through ‘In Thrall’ will leave your ears bleeding. Few songs subsist on a constant beat and tempo. The start-stop approach is the preferred mode of existence on the excellent ‘A Door Never Closed’, where the band break off from their dried-blood pickings with a descent into traditional heavy metal. Dissection are an obvious reference point for the way they find melody in this avalanche of ugly noise. Danish death metal crew, Livløs, operate in a similar paradigm of virus-spreading filth. Here, the axemen scrape against their strings in the stubborn way you try to fix a broken device by throttling it in the hope that this will bring it back to life. At times, Nixil resemble a noise rock band playing black metal. The title-track aches with a jangly guitar tone that would sound horrible live, and that’s the point. Think of Voivod’s amp settings but with an extra dimension of dry bleeding. Vocalist, Chris Carter, threatens to shred his larynx with every word that squirms out of his mouth.

From the Wound Spilled Forth Fire is rough, yet subtle melodies live beneath the slime, and memorable chorus repeats raise their head every so often. The vocal incantations at the end of ‘Abyss unto Abyss’ reverberate with blood and perspiration: “From station unto station, may you fall, may you descend until all’s reduced to naught, till we reach that holy end.” Chris Carter urges you to “use your space and use your time as a training ground to gird yourself from the lies of the demiurge” as if counselling a flock of fallen angels to regret none of their transgressions. How often these days do you hear mid-range power chords as the main source of evil agitation? Here, the guitars bite like rabid beasts starved of a regular supply of food.

Only one thing stops this LP from winning you over with complete approbation – the music has a nauseating effect after thirty minutes. That’s a testament to the aesthetic capabilities of Nixil, but you want something worthy of an air guitar amongst this chaos. The pick-up in tempo on closing track, ‘The Way is the Grave’, is like a dissonant blackened doom band interpreting NWOBHM but with none of the latter’s sinister charms. With Nixil, there is only the sinister. Their obsession with destroying the chains imposed upon us by the demiurge leaves them vulnerable to accusations of lacking the self-consciousness needed to engage with their audience. You are a spectator but nothing else. Don’t ask questions of your masters.

From the Wound Spilled Forth Fire is proud of its repulsive nature. It wants to drag you into the abyss, where you can find your true unfettered self. It’s a fascinating journey, but you cannot embark on it without a few instinctive reservations.



Release Date: 25/08/2023

Record Label: Prosthetic Records

Standout tracks: Collapsing the Poles, A Door Never Closed, The Way is the Grave

Suggested Further Listening: Livløs – And Then There Were None (2021), Deitus – Irreversible (2023), Vaciø – Et Destituta Mortis EP (2021)