Nightbringer is one of the most consistently incredible American black metal bands going today. I’d easily hold them up as a shining example of how great American black metal can be (regardless of their European influences, more on that later). Not only are they consistent, they’re consistently interesting. You know with Nightbringer that you’re going to get a swirling mix of sinister and foreboding black metal, but how you get from A to B is anybody’s guess.

For example, on their fifth full-length, Nightbringer go full force and don’t stop for many breaks along the way. Instantly “As Wolves Amongst Ruins” starts up, there’s no lengthy instrumental intro, no slow build up, no easing you in to this nightmare. It just fucking starts, full force with an explosion of howling black metal and doesn’t relent until the whole fucking shebang comes to end after damn near an hour.

This is an interesting approach for Nightbringer, who made their bones dwelling in the darkness of technical black metal misery and psychological horror. Of course there’s that element here. It wouldn’t be Nightbringer without that evil factor, but everything is amped up a bit. It’s a slightly more gasp melodic affair with some more intense symphony elements happening. Nobody would ever suggest Emperor was not an influence on this band but they really let that influence shine for moments here and there. I’m thinking of the track “Midnight’s Crown” or “Of the Key and Crossed Bones”(with its downright Ihsahn-ian vocals) for example.

The intensity and the weirdness cover the entire album and they do take some turns here and there, just to throw you off their trail, but for the most part they keep it chaotic and furious. There’s a lot going on here and this level of intensity brings out the horrific themes of the band in vivid light.

Another remarkable album from this band, chaos and all.

Grab Terra Damnata from their Bandcamp page.