[13 December 2011]
Before we proceed any further, let’s make a guess. Which country is this band from? Oh, Sweden you say? How right you are! The Entombed-ish logo, the bleak and morbid cover art, and the general sense of dread you feel just from looking at this overall package of revolting imagery are all, in fact, good signs! As with the trend of good ol’ skull-crackin’ death metal being produced in modern times, Nominon is yet another band playing in the old school Swedish death metal style while hailing from Sweden themselves. I just cannot stop emphasizing on that. No matter what Possessed and Morbid Angel zealots might say, Sweden still continues to deliver some of the finest ‘90s death metal around, just like how she did back in the days of the underground conquests led by the legendary Swedish death trio of Entombed, Dismember and Unleashed.
When one speaketh of the unholy and blasphemous art of old school Swedish death metal, it is heresy and death by inverted crucifixion to forget about the buzzsaw. Yes, that ever quintessential buzzsaw tone. Old school Swedish death metal would be like stale Coca Cola without it. That also happens to be one easy way to identify this genre, by the way. Staying true to the “kvlt” image Nominon has built up for themselves over the past 18 years, they certainly do not disappoint old timers on this fourth studio excursion.
Grating riffs abound, the bass can be felt but can’t really be heard on most tracks (like anyone really cares), the slightly < 200BPM drums are trying to make you doubt the degree of humanity in the monster whacking it out behind the set, and an all too familiar-sounding kind of disgusted voice pukes into your ears, failing miserably to literally communicate its don’t-mess-with-me-and-screw-commercial-stuff attitude to you, but making up for that with its equally understandable sound of absolute abhorrence at all things nice and happy.
Contrary to popular belief, old school Swedish death metal is still capable of utilizing catchy hooks even if the guitars have a gravely distorted sound. Edgy numbers like “Undead Beast” (keep an ear out for the pummeling bassy groove that dominates the first half of the song), “Mountain Of Hate”, “Worm”, “Worship” and “Wrath Of Shiva” are Nominon’s better moments on this album, with “Worship” easily standing out as the best white noise to to which you can carry out your bludgeoning or grave-digging activities. Indeed, as that particular song name implies, Nominon certainly deserves to be revered and groveled to at the grime-encrusted altar of old school Swedish death, and perhaps throw in a few dancing cadavers and rattling skeletons to liven (Deaden?) up the ritual as well. After all, how can any self-respecting old school death fan not be compelled to take such faithfully subterranean tunes to his/her grave?
Once in a while, it is good to forget about fanciful luxuries like progressive or technical death metal. Sure, Obscura and late Death may be intricate and mind-boggling to listen to, but the stubbornly resilient pocket of traditional death metal bands frozen in time since the ‘90s still makes for a worthwhile revisit occasionally whenever that grey lump between our ears gets too saturated with the fresh stuff of today. In fact, if you are actually starting to think that the current Roadrunner roster is as metal as anything in the genre can possibly get, you are in severe need of a memory jolt, and look no further than the jaw-breaking mace blow that is Nominon.