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Minimalism and Maximalism on Nekrasov’s “The Mirror Void”


Ever-prolific Australian one-man black metal act Nekrasov has been hallmarking the importance of noise and abstraction in the genre since 2007. Across seven EPs, six splits, and seven full-length albums, Nekrasov has dabbled in numerous methods to extract the raw noise of black metal from its whole. Doing so, however, isn’t a simple matter of stripping embellishments; rather, it’s about locating distinct but planar sounds which best capture black metal’s underlying (and often emotional) impact. Now, cue Nekrasov’s eighth full-length The Mirror Void and an exclusive stream of the album’s second track “Fragmentation and the Rapid Quicksand of Concept” (below).

From fuzzed-out, hyper-scream vocals to the incessant drumming (only shifting beats twice), “Fragmentation and the Rapid Quicksand of Concept” assaults without pause as the shortest but densest song on The Mirror Void. Here, Nekrasov’s modus operandi is made clear: build a solid, unwavering drum foundation, layer it with uncompromising guitar distortion, and then cover it with super-processed shrieks. While this seems straightforward enough, there’s artistry in managing so much input and volume: it comes down to texture, attack, and ambiance. Keep in mind that Nekrasov has dabbled in full noise abstraction in the past (e.g. 2010’s Extinction); with The Mirror Void, the approach is decisively more black metal.

The Mirror Void features quieter/gentler moments, but the second track is not the place for the more subtle ambiance that Nekrasov outputted earlier this year on the In Token of Their Spite EP. Instead, more in line with last year’s Negative Temple full-length, “Fragmentation and the Rapid Quicksand of Concept” seeks ambiance via totality and maximization. Central to this idea is the use of blast beats — Nekrasov relishes in the “one consistent, mechanical beat” deal. Also, The Mirror Void does away with the lo-fi production of yore, which amplifies the harsh sharpness of Nekrasov’s tone. Aesthetically, nothing is spoiled by focusing on the clarity in cacophony.

In some ways, “Fragmentation and the Rapid Quicksand of Concept” is a critique on black metal (but certainly not satire). Taking the purposefully monolithic drum programming into mind, as well Nekrasov’s blasted-out vocal performance, the song captures all of the black metal atmospheric intensity but with a functionally minimal approach. As if flat-packed, The Mirror Void assembles itself inside listeners’ heads instead of outside of their ears. Similar to how white noise can sometimes aid sleep and rest, Nekrasov aids not only wakefulness, but also self-awareness, through forcibly exchanging your stream of consciousness with the music itself. This aggressive force is of special note, especially on “Fragmentation and the Rapid Quicksand of Concept,” as The Mirror Void puts you into a fitting state of mind instead of just asking for it.

The Mirror Void releases on November 10th via Prosthetic Records. Pre-order the album here. Check out the album’s first track here.

From Nekrasov:

It’s not fair on you to give too much anyway on any of the Nekrasov work conceptually. The title suggests that due to current steroid use of concepts (further fragmentation of us all) it might further us in our current quicksand; whatever that belief/quicksand may be. Good on a first date to find if they are “the one” and as a palate cleanser for the bombardment of Disney black metal and a refreshing tone within the onslaught of rapid fragmentation of this current realm as we try so desperately to be “whole.”

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