Weekly Wretched: Belial - Nihil Est
The time has finally arrived - it's feels like it has been a long, long time coming, but Nihil Est, the new sophomore EP from UK's BELIAL has finally landed, and it's exactly what we've been waiting for. I'll go as far as to say that "Nihil Est" is one of my top anticipated albums that we knew was coming out this year, and as a far from the very beginning of this band, I can only give pure love and praise to the Belial boys for the job they did on this one. It's a work of art; a heavy, brutal, and intense work of art. Let's dive right in to it... Nihil Est.
The new EP from the Belial boys has 15 total tracks, 5 of which are instrumental versions. The album kicks off with "In Extremis," a crackling intro that leads right into crazy guitar work before the vocalist hits you like a ton of bricks. The vocal style changes from intense death metal growls to straight up yelling in a fashion that will leave the listener amazed at just how well Belial managed to pull it off. It is a great blend of the styles that both the fans of the "heavy, heavy" styles as well as the lighter vocals can appreciate (these are by no means clean vocals though - Belial's vocalist definitely brings the brutal no matter what style of vocals he chooses!). All the while, the guitars are crushing and pounding just beneath the vocals in a brutally melodic way - the following song "Eon" is another perfect example of this. It has beautifully written melodic guitar work over a head-bob inducing breakdown - all just before some sweet guitar solos chime in and build up to one of the better breakdowns on "Nihil Est." Beautifully written, beautifully executed.
I'll be honest when I said I'm a bit biased towards Belial because of how much I loved their earlier songs. But I think any listener who appreciates deathcore (and honestly, any metal fan should be able to appreciate this) can honestly agree that "Nihil Est" raises the bar a notch above a lot of other releases we've gotten over the past few years. The album is a fresh new, dark, melodic but crushing take on a genre that gets a lot of shit. Songs like "Wraiths," "'Ø (Naught)" and "Parasite" really do bring a new sound to the genre. One thing about this album you really need to hear to appreciate is the small little details the band have thrown into each aspect of the album - the smallest of cymbal crashes and guitar licks are what string this album together and when it's listened from beginning to end and you really can appreciate those little details, the album takes a whole new life (I'm also a big fan of what I would maybe refer to as the "electronic" details of the tracks, for examples of what I mean check out the intros to "Wen" and "In Origin").
Belial are described as being the "soundtrack to a nightmare" - and I don't think that's too far from the truth. The UK guys are definitely kicking off 2017 in the best way possible, Nihil Est is a fucking beast of an album. I would even go as far as to say they are up there with the likes of the bigger deathcore acts like Thy Art is Murder and Oceano - they're music will definitely appeal to fans of both bands for sure. For some reason - and I don't know why exactly - but Belial also reminds me a lot of newer Mychildren Mybride, albeit much heavier and fucking insane.
Do not miss out on Nihil Est - this is a genre defining album, and Belial are out for the fucking world.