Nemorous Opens a New Chapter of Forested Black Metal (EP Review)
Should we be chained to our past, unable to grow, change and move forwards, while tied down to previous experiences? Should our actions speak louder than words? For Nemorous, this is a theme that may follow them for some time after the dissolution of Wodensthrone and the accusations of unsavoury personal beliefs that plagued the band's splitting up. Having put that band and past behind them, Nemorous' members (most of whom were in the aforementioned project) have come together to once again create stirring atmospheric black metal with a more personal and introspective outlook.
In a recent interview with the British band, the members noted that Nemorous is now a more mature version of the group they once were and have grown from the heathen ideals that coloured their previous work. They have changed and moved forward in the intervening years, and while they now aim to pay homage to the past in regards to the style of black metal they played, they also want to show that they are now clearly different as people and have overcome those immature notions. With Nemorous they have the chance to demonstrate that progress.
Nemorous lies in the sphere of black metal ensconced in the towering forests that were once prevalent across the land, sharing space with the likes of Wolves In The Throne Room or Falls of Rauros, bands which use nature for inspiration to talk about personal narratives and as metaphors for the advancement of time and the destruction it can bring. The same can also be said for humanity’s impact on that natural world as we see it crumble before us, no longer able to sustain a population of several billion which shows no signs of slowing until eventually something gives —it will be the structures that currently hold us to this earth. ''For We Who Shall Know No Rest'' opens the EP and touches on this subject in its lyrics that speak of the hubris of man and the cycle of condemnation that faces us.
Nemorous use rich patterns of sound to create an ascendant atmosphere throughout this first song — vocals are gruff and often layered to give a chanted effect, as though the old gods are being called forth to witness the devastation that has been wrought on their ground, while guitars are rendered in melancholy, folk-inspired strokes, integrating soaring melodies or aggression when it’s required. The band have used Wodensthrone’s sound as their blueprint in terms of bringing lush textures to fore yet there is something new and revitalised in the harmonies that Nemorous produce. The past is used as inspiration, of course, as Nemorous have taken several songs from the ashes of their previous endeavour in order to forge a new path. Gentler passages are finely woven through the aggression to allow moments of reflection into the EP while the idea of change is presented through the lens of the dynamism of the forest.
The new foundation for Nemorous is one that looks within and the lyrics reflect the darkness that is found at the centre of the soul. ''The Crucible of Being'' sets a gloomy stage as the band navigate lightless pathways on their journey to redemption — vocals are clad in anguish and leave no room for hope on this voyage of discovery. As if Nemorous have already come to terms with being bereft in the imposing woodland they must move through in order to break free and make change a reality. The difficulty in truly moving on from the past is one that is threaded through their music, as the band have stated that many of these songs started life as material for a Wodensthrone record that never emerged due to the band splitting up. However, Nemorous feel that this is a new entity, a rebirth and a chance to progress in thought and ideals. ''Omega'' puts forth that idea quite succinctly in its lyrics: whether on purpose or not, it shows that this is a band that has undergone personal change and whose members have learned a great deal from that evolution.
So this is the price of freedom
Absolved, we trace the path of the serpent's coil
Through the catacombs of mind
Yet tarred by our odium, we cower in the dark
As Nemorous closes on a cleverly done and beautiful cover of In Gowan Ring’s "The Wind That Cracks The Leaves,'' the band's subtly intertwined folk elements and inspirations become more evident as the song reaches for a clearing that brings a sliver of hope to the darkness within. Should Nemorous be judged for their past actions or what they are doing now? Both can be true, and with this new EP the band are showing that they have learned and are still learning — which is something that we can all be better at in the future.
Nemorous releases May 15th via Bindrune Recordings.