Nihil Obstat – Inherited Primitive Behaviors

“Did we became onto a plague for our own planet?  Must we be annihilated by our own hand?”

Is it possible?  A Colombian brutal death outfit that’s not Internal Suffering or Ancient Necropsy but also not slam?  Apparently Nihil Obstat is the ONLY band who fits that category, but fortunately they’re a worthwhile band despite the horrendous lack of breakdowns or awful production.

Nihil Obstat plays a technical, fairly chaotic style of brutal death metal that most closely resembles compatriots Mindly Rotten, minus the filthiness and insanity of that band.  If Mindly Rotten is a berserk hobo, Nihil Obstat is what happens after you give him a shave and some nice clothes (which does nothing about the berserk part really).  Guitars explode and twist and seemingly never repeat or settle into a groove while drums furiously clatter under them, alternating between streams of Suffocation-style jackhammer blasting and absurd fills.  Vocals are delivered almost too quickly and flow against the grain of the music, ranging from gurgles to high pig squeals and switching between the two regularly.  The technical performances are excellent; each member of the band is extraordinarily skilled and never falters once on this album.  Occasional bursts of frantic and fragile guitar melody occasionally appear just to be smashed under the hammer of atonality and terror.  It’s very intense music.  It never feels really like ‘conventional brutal death’; it’s not just technical, it’s chaotic and has a real aura of danger and fury about it that you don’t often hear.

Lyrically, Nihil Obstat revolves around similar themes, again, to Mindly Rotten, but portrayed in a different way.  While Mindly Rotten was crafting insane, Nietzschian treatises on the nature of man and society, Nihil Obstat goes about it in something of a more scientific way, meditating on evolution (as you could guess from the title), culture, and those dual forces’ impact on human life.  The lyrics are a pretty interesting read, as even the more standard death metal material about gore and insanity is done with a touch of subtlety rarely seen.  Musically I think they’re not quite as developed as Mindly Rotten’s overwhelming chaos and brutality, but they’re certainly close; these two bands wouldn’t seem at all out of place on a split together.

I enjoy this album a lot.  While it doesn’t strike me as deeply as Mindly Rotten, it’s a very important and worthwhile album that does take brutal death metal more than a small step beyond what it typically is.  By meshing serious and comprehensible lyrical structures with similar musical themes, they’ve crafted a multifaceted work that can be viewed and interpreted from many angles.  Along with Mindly Rotten and Amputated Genitals, it seems that Colombia is an amazing breeding ground for compelling and forward-thinking brutal death metal.  Most certainly worth a look.

“It’s our command to reach the stars to retaliate those who transformed us into this abomination.  Parents of the human race, we are the new flesh, we condition.”

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~ by noktorn on July 27, 2008.

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