|Review: Ill Fares the Land - Nonentity|
Label: Uxicon Records
Year released: 2002
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: January 16, 2010
Reviewed by: Nahsil
Rated 4/5 (80%) (4 Votes)
Wow, this EP from Belgian Death Metallers Ill Fares the Land is one of the more devastating things I've heard lately. Few bands could pull off a combination of Melodic, Thrashy and Brutal Death Metal, not to mention some Black Metal-inspired tremolo-riffing, but Belgium appears to be a land of untold wonders. Though the band is relatively unheard of, that will change, if they ever get around to recording a full-length, and if it measures up to this ravaging and finely crafted 24-minute massacre.
First track "The Defeated Prophecy" wastes no time at all, no introduction, just instant blast beats under a whirling current of twisted, intricately melodic Black/Death riffs. I'm still a little shocked at how good this is; I've had the release for some time, but never gave it more than a glance until recently, and now that it's got me in its clutches, I'm not sure how I ever gave it even a few seconds of my time and wasn't immediately enthralled. I don't know — hold up, just a second...
Okay, sorry, couldn't resist a violent fit of headbanging at the beginning passage of "Ages of Chaos." Anyway, I don't know how they managed it, but these Belgians have produced 24 minutes of non-stop rarely-recycled riffs that are highly infectious, unusually fresh sounding, and subtle enough to reward repeated listens. Normally, when an EP is this good and this short, its ending is a time of considerable lament, but in Nonentity's case, I don't mind starting the whole thing over and giving it another immediate play-through. In addition to the relentless thrashing of the labyrinthine guitar work, there's a lot of creative drum-play throughout this mini-cd, blast beats common but often stepping aside to allow a swift and precise fill or otherwise odd pattern to emerge, always keeping in time with the work of the two guitarists, never dominating the rest of the instrumentation but remaining ever inventive and dexterous. Highly, highly impressive performances from all musicians involved, including the bassist, whose presence isn't always obvious, but whose absence would most certainly detract from the overall immensity of the band's sound.
The vocals are are a step lower in register than traditional death growls, closer to the tone of some in the brutal death field, but I find that they suit the apocalyptic atmosphere extremely well. They aren't quite guttural, just a subterranean quality of deep not dissimilar to early Suffocation.
I read somewhere that these guys started out playing metalcore. If that's true — holy shit, they've come a long way. This is essential for any Death Metal fan that doesn't mind a little bit of well-implemented and reined-in melodicism.
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