Mostly Yelling #2: Noxis Grotesquely Blooms in an “Expanse of Hellish Black Mire”
Mostly Yelling is a new column that shines a spotlight on underground death metal bands whose discographies are slim, but whose impact will likely be huge.
Noxis managed to make their new EP Expanse of Hellish Black Mire sound exactly like its title. The EP is an eternally shifting landscape of odd time signatures, murky riffs, and a darkness that completely conceals where the ground ends and the pitch-black sky begins. All this from a trio whose music was clearly written and recorded for three members who know how to make that configuration work.
According to Noxis bassist David Kirsch, Expanse of Hellish Black Mire was the result of having too much material and some extra time thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We started on Expanse of Hellish Black Mire basically as soon as Necrotizing was finished," said Kirsch. "We had, and still have, a lot of material written and it was just a matter of picking and choosing what to do with everything. The songs that actually ended up on Expanse came together a lot closer to recording.”
"Back in March, [guitarist Grant Mastropieri] and I were out of jobs for two months due to the COVID lockdown. Basically, worked on music non-stop. We just knew we had the right ones when we wrote those four songs."
From the opening, clicking bass and distorted static oceans of "Dream Infested" to the churning tumult of "Guts Liquify", Expanse of Hellish Black Mire is a non-stop convulsing mass of grime in every sense. Its shifting time signatures create a sense of unease and confusion throughout, while the production has this stony, death-like quality to it. Almost as if the music has been rotting underground for years prior to its exhumation, sans any intentional lo-fi qualities.
Though the EP is only four songs long, Noxis of course has a favorite.
"Individually it's hard to say our favorite, but collectively we all would have to say our favorite is 'Guts Liquify'," said Kirsch. "We all lost our shit when we were writing it. It encompasses everything we have to offer.
“It's fast, it grooves, it's weird and has odd time signatures for you nerds out there, it's scary, and when we can finally play it live, that's the one we are most excited for people to experience. We can't wait to feel a crowd’s reaction to the grinding and grooving passages throwing bodies into the slam breakdown part. That said, it's probably the most challenging for us to execute.”
Much like everyone else at the moment, Noxis is still stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kirsch said the band will be using that time to write material for either a split or another EP, as well as their debut full-length album potentially due out this fall.