Nephrolith – Xullux (Haliaetum)

Fusing the best black metal elements into a single opus, Nephrolith is the new promise of obscure art.


Hailing from Slovenia, and after one demo, Nephrolith present us with their debut album Xullux (which I infer is Lux – light in latin – backwards and forwards), dealing poetically with the theme of death as few acts do nowadays.

The production is intended to be raw, yet the sound is melodic, making Xullux a perfect album that gives a high dose of “kvltness” to its listeners.

After the infamous intro wisely named Alpha (and one can guess the name of the outro – Omega) the attack named Spiritual Departure starts with blast beats that immediately transport us to Swedish soundscapes like Dark Funeral, and, perhaps most of all, Watain, but, as said before, with a quasi-demo production that works perfectly for the approach intended by Nephrolith. Variation is their middle name, and the sound tumbles into a melodic approach, with a mid-paced part equipped with a good solo. Not great, because one can hear the technical limitations of guitarists Isvaroth and Skargart, but they do their job dead on throughout the tracks.

The riff of Purification of Culprit is something that makes one think that these guys are in for the kill. One actually can remember and “sing” the main guitar theme, because it’s really impressive. The snarls come from the guts of hell, and show the desperation of the, ahem, singer in his role as messenger of demise trying to pass along the news that the Lady Death herself is stalking about. This is a great song.

Abandoned in Essence is divided into two tracks with an intermezzo, and alternates melodic parts, with and acoustic intro, and frantic/mid pace, to and fro, sometimes delivering a more melodic Germanic approach like Suidakra and Dark Fortress than the Swedish found elsewhere.It’s perfect how these guys go from one BM school to another without audible seams. 

Xullux and the The Tale of the Conquering Dusk are seriously good, making me think that sometimes this job of making reviews is more enjoyable that one might think, gifting me with serious good, yet unknown bands/albums: the variation of the themes are done in the a superb way, and, as I notice before, if not highly technical, it is decent enough to call the attention of the black metallers seeking for not-so-raw approach of the Black Metal. They do a curious accomplish: their limitations are what save them.

The last three tracks before Omega (ops, before OUTRO), Nocturnal Perception, Putrefaction and Subsistence of Decease continue the alternating binge, with melodic guitars, insane drumming, poetic lyrics, desperate grumbles, in a demoniac orgy of Black metal victory. The year is not over yet, but I’m coming to the conclusion that Xullux is the best underground album of 2011. Now, major labels, please, do your job and bring Nephrolith to your rosters. Thanks again!