Urban Cancer by Canadians Nefastus Dies (Province of Quebec) is my entry into The Most Overlooked Record of 2008. The reasons may be several. Technically, Urban Cancer is not a new album, it is a couple of years old and, after originally issuing on Deepsend, it is now coming out on Siege of Amida partner of Candlelight. Not a huge leap in terms of label visibility but every little bit helps. More importantly, the album, despite its many black overtones, would not appeal to that genre purists and, thus, is not registering on their radar.
The history, line-up and origin of Nefastus Dies probably have something to do with the brand of extreme metal the band plays. When you hail from Quebec, brutal technical metal with the powerful production is in your DNA. When you have Ill-Fate (Sebastien Painchaud) as a singer, formerly of Ion Dissonance, the vocals would bear a strong deathcore imprint. Combine that with the desire to be devastatingly melodic in both guitar and keyboard department, in a black metal sense of the word, and the unique sound of deeply blackened deathcore emerges.
The melodies of Nefastus Dies are deliberate and carefully crafted melodic progressions delivered via fast tremolo. Keyboards are very subtle, never overwhelm, and are used as mood-setters or in strategic breakdown situations (Fragments of Poisoned Components, Primal Chaos Layers). Leads are even more pronounced melodic inserts borrowing from second wave Norwegian black metal, but also, perhaps in equal part, from the French scene, similar to the melodic pressure Amesouers applies, capturing that “urban” as opposed to snow-filled desert feel (the play on the title is intended). The brutal techy parts can very quickly yield to surprisingly fluid and melodic moments only to culminate in the ripping ‘core attitude (Spawns of Illegitimacy). Doomy chords open The Irony Of Anti-Establishment Ideologies and this composition also finds room for the electroacoustic guitar.
The melodic waves of Urban Cancer constantly collide with the steady mechanical fast drumming consisting mainly of blastbeats, but also finding room for accents, fills and knee-breaking syncopation. With the songs like The Irony Of Anti-Establishment Ideologies or None of the Above you don’t know which injection was more dominant – the dose of wall-to-wall pummeling or the whiff of melodic melancholy.
The lengthy songs of Urban Cancer might have been overbearing, but with the feeling of personal apocalypses, it actually pays off to drag on and keep on destroying the senses. This is also where Ill-Fate’s vocals come in, harsh hardcore tearing screams, very unusual for standard black metal, interspersed with deeper growls, and even more rarely with a quick spoken passage (Primal Chaos Layers) or a cleaner line (Fragments Of Poisoned Components). Nefastus Dies also uses way overprocessed otherworldly distorted The Amenta or Anaal Natrakh screams, not often, to punctuate that feeling of utter desperation.
Urban Cancer can climb on top of you and crush you under its weight. For me it had an opposite feeling. Imagine walking outside in a blinding snowstorm. Cold and tired, the destination seems unreachable or at least far away. Yet you keep on walking, stubbornly, somehow continuing to find strength amidst these difficult circumstances. Subconsciously you know that you will get there, triumphant, and the strength to carry on never leaves you.
Killing Songs :
Fragments Of Poisoned Components, Primal Chaos Layers, None Of The Above
|Alex quoted 86 / 100|
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