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Review: Brulvahnatu - Sick Creature Nightmare
Sick Creature Nightmare

Label: Death Hymns
Year released: 2019
Originally released in: 2017
Duration: 59:56
Tracks: 4
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: March 22, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers Rating
Sick Creature Nightmare

Rated 4.2/5 (84%) (5 Votes)

After being blown away by Uterine Acid Swishes, I searched high and low for as much of Brulvahnatu's obscure back catalog as I could, but the fact most of that most of their material had very limited pressings and sole member Kib Sreng having practically no online presence made that a challenge for the most part. Hell, before I recently discovered that Death Hymns had a physical re-issue of this album, the only info I could find on it was that it had a Bandcamp release in 2017 and was taken down for unknown reasons, making this a strange case of an album's physical version being easier to get ahold of than the digital one.

Judging from the surreal, impressionistic artwork in the booklet and the equally strange and dreamlike lyrics, I was expecting this to be much more experimental than Uterine Acid Swishes, and I was correct. Rather than the vicious, often chaotic rumblings of that album, Sick Creature Nightmare is much more melodic and moody, having a songwriting sensibility closer to Doom and even Blues rather than DSBM while still remaining a Black Metal album. The production is cleaner, the songwriting is generally slower and less abrasive, and all the instruments are given more room to breathe than before, which allows the bass work to take the spotlight. Unfortunately, the songs tend to go on longer than they need to, and while the melodic work on this is often haunting, it's not always enough to sustain the music throughout the album. Kib's vocals also aren't as strong on this one, for while his guttural roars are in fine form, he traded his shrieks for a more standard Black Metal croak that doesn't always work, especially in the slower, more experimental sections.

This might make it sound like I don't like this album, but after a lot of consideration, I'd say it's within a hair of as good as Uterine Acid Swishes. The clearer sound of this album really lets Kib stretch out as a guitarist, giving his work more shading and harmonic leads than in the past. This is most evident on album opener "Beyond the Outer Walls", which switches between bluesy twanging and more typical tremolo riffing, and the awesome album closer "Swindlers Ride Down the Mountain", which starts off with honest-to-god bluegrass-esque riffing that slowly mutates into a pummeling rhythmic section that supports searing melodic leads that waver over it like the cries of the forest at night.

Overall, this is a strange, iconoclastic work from a strange, iconoclastic band that any fan of more experimental Black Metal will want to get a hold of. It's not their best, but it's probably going to be one of the few albums from this band you'll ever get a hold of.

Other related information on the site
Review: Frozen Obscene Deliverance (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: Last Living Dream (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: Menstrual Extraction Ceremony (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: Uterine Acid Swishes (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Interview with Kib Sreng on October 3, 2020 (Interviewed by Mjölnir)
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