|Review: Nehemah - Requiem Tenebrae|
Label: Adipocere Records
Year released: 2004
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: May 2, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.44/5 (88.75%) (16 Votes)
Arrgh. Never done this before, and I don't plan to again. I find it annoying when other reviewers re-review an album they have already reviewed. I never planned on doing it myself. I have reviewed 250+ albums, and even when I look back at the oldest ones, I never want to change them. I might want to bump the odd review a half a point one way or the other, but never very much. This album is the exception. The first time I reviewed this CD I liked it, but it has gotten daily airplay ever since, and now I simply cannot live with myself if I do not revise my under-estimation of it.
So yes, this is a Black Metal album—only the second I have ever given a perfect score to. Nehemah are a melodic band in the tradition of Emperor or mid-period Dimmu Borgir, and in fact there is a great resemblance between the sound of this album and Emperor's "In the Nightside Eclipse". Nehemah are not re-inventing the BM wheel here, and I won't claim that they are. What they are doing is churning out some of the best Black Metal I have ever heard.
What led me to underestimate this album at first is that it is a grower. On first listen, it sounds good, but hardly arresting. The melodies and the excellent vocals kept me spinning it though, and the more I listened, the more I loved this album. This is not an album that grabs you by the throat right off. It creeps up on you, with each listen it becomes more compelling, more encompassing, and more memorable. At first I liked this album quite a bit, but I listen to it every damn day now, and I get irritable if I don't get to spin it at least once. I have never encountered Black Metal that sticks in my head like this does. I love the speedy blast of "The Great Old Ones" with those ungodly shrieking vocals like a knife on a chalkboard. (Check that scream about 2 minutes in!) The moody third track leads right into the slower, creepier groove of "The Elder Gods Awakening". The centerpiece of the album is really the next two songs: the epic "In The Mists of Orion's Sword"--a faster cut that shows off the band's complexity. And then the best song on the album comes ripping out: the slow, doomy and emotional eleven minute assault of "Taken Away By The Torn Black Shroud", which is probably the best Black Metal song I have ever heard.
I don't know what to say. First I gave this a 4 out of 5, then upped it to 4.5, and now I cannot give this less than a perfect score. I've never had a BM album pull me in like this. Nehemah are an awesome band with tight playing and an excellent ear for using keys to give already cold and dark music that extra edge of atmosphere. The guitar tone is sharp and evil, the production has depth but isn't too polished, and the vocals cut like a buzzsaw. This is complex, deep and powerful music that just gets better every time I listen to it. So here's my big mea culpa, as I really should have given this more time before I reviewed it. If you like old Emperor or Dawn Of Relic, then you need to get this. At first listen it will sound good, but keep listening, believe me. Keep listening. This is an album that gets better every time you play it.
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