by Cosmo Lee

In doom metal, the usual words tossed around pertain to size - "lumbering," "massive," etc. While Germany's Black Shape of Nexus are certainly those things - they tune down to a bowel-shaking B flat - they exhibit surprising nuance. Amid the requisitive tiiiiiimestretching riffs are melodic curlicues and percussive details that demand active listening. More importantly, the songs have forward momentum; only in the 21-minute closer does the band fall into the trap of the eternal one-note dirge.

IV

The vocals are suitably throat-scarred, but the instrumental "IV" best displays the band's strengths. After a prophetic quote from Planet of the Apes ("Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn...") comes an earthshaking stomp, heralding invasion by something large and alien. Lumbering, massive riffs indeed follow, but they're balanced by delicate jangles. Six minutes in, the band drops into a hypnotic march as bleak melodies darken the skies. One gets the image of a cloud spreading and blotting out the sun. The recording is fantastic; the guitar tones practically bulge from the speakers.

Black Shape of Nexus have a way with packaging. This CD, which compiles their self-titled LP and tracks from a split with Crowskin, comes in a golden metal box with black felt on the back (limited to 500 copies). Even more recondite is a 100-copy, tour-only edition that packages the CD inside a 5.25" floppy disc. Practical value notwithstanding, the design values of such accoutrements and the band's website are undeniable. High quality product in small, meaningful quantities - it's a good way to run an operation.

Buy:
Bis Auf's Messer
All That Is Heavy
Black Shape of Nexus