For most bands and artists the crossing of the vanguard borderline seems to be something they try to avoid like a dangerous disease. Once they found their own style of expression, the natural drive is to defend the conquered niche. Mostly till the end of the (creative) days. That’s not bad. Iron Maiden rules and still I don’t want to imagine their fabulous songs with techno beats or harsh industrial sounds.
On the other hand there are some individuals for whom it seems the greatest pleasure to break rules and search for new options of expression. Nagash and Blackheart from THE KOVENANT belong to this group, without any doubt. In 1998 and with the release of “Nexus Polaris” they first left the path of traditional Black Metal and stepped into a new cosmos of extraterrestrial rock music.
Against the trend back then the album appears quite progressive. The blast beats were reduced to a minimum to leave more space for guitars and the omnipresent synthetic sounds. This is notable, because no one less than Hellhammer was hired to give “Nexus Polaris” the right percussion. Till this album he was more known for his disruptive speed attacks than for smooth accented rock-drums.
Also the guitars play a subordinated role. Until Astennu comes around the corner to present his skills with an outstanding guitar-symphony, the electronic strings mainly are used as rhythmic fundament and are more comparable to rock music and traditional Heavy Metal, than to Black Metal and its characteristic fast tremolo picking.
The keyboards are handled by Sverd, well known for his work with ARCTURUS. The attentive listener will explore a lot of similarities to the masterpiece “La Masquerade Infernale” in terms of instrumentation and sound of the synthesisers.
Nagash’s screeching vocals, the only left relict from the old days, are flanked by Sarah Jezebel Devas opera chants, which are often underlying the leitmotiv of the tracks.
If someone would tell me, that “Nexus Polaris” is not really vanguard, I wouldn’t disagree. The ingredients are well known. Heavy, concise guitars, opulent keyboards and the vocals of a devil-worshipper: We all knew this already from DIMMU BORGIR and CRADLE OF FILTH, and some of us were even bored by this style back in 1998. But nevertheless I think this album is worth to be mentioned here, because it represents the will of its creators to make a big step forward. “Nexus Polaris” marks the turning point for an extremely creative and inspired band, which should later step even deeper in the world of avant-garde music (“SETI”).
Label: Nuclear Blast
Avantgenre: Symphonies Of Angeldust And Star Journeys
Official site: http://www.gentechranch.tk/
Review online since: 27.09.2007 / 13:36:36
01 – The Sulfer Feast
02 – Bizarre Cosmic Industries
03 – Planetarium
04 – The Last Of The Dragons
05 – Bringer Of The Sixth Sun
06 – Dragonheart
07 – Planetary Black Elements
08 – Chariots Of Thunder