Wednesday 16 March 2016

Black Shape Of Nexus - Carrier (Album Review)

Release date: March 18th 2016 . Label: Exile On Mainstream Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Carrier – Tracklisting

1. I Can’t Play It
2. Lift Yourself
3. Sand Mountain
4. Facepunch Transport Layer
5. Sachsenheim
6. Triumph Of Death


If there was one way of describing Carrier, the latest album by Black Shape Of Nexus it would be bleak, unflinchingly and defiantly bleak to be more precise and the six songs that make up Carrier are as bleak as it gets. The fact that one the the bands previous albums is titled Negative Black tells you a lot about the band.

Amongst the overriding bleakness though there is an insane catchiness to the riffs that merge well with the overriding sense of doom you get when listening to this album with the brilliantly titled Facepunch Transport Layer a prime example of this, although this track as with the others is ultra aggressive and heavy as well, the vocals in particular sound like direct threats.

The sounds that Black Shape Of Nexus mix up go a long way to defining this bleakness with doom, sludge and noise elements all absorbed and spat out with a degree of spite that's admirable while ambient passages and great slabs of drone create an unnerving atmosphere throughout and the result takes your breath away.

From the off the bleakness is unavoidable with opening track I Can't Play It starting off with an atmospheric intro complete with what sounds like the epitome of human suffering before a lurching and intimidating riff kicks in and sets the tone for the rest of the album.

Carrier is full of atmosphere throughout, the majority of which is uncomfortable and creates a feeling of panic but that only adds to the experience, Lift Yourself is a prime example this feeling on the album, a track that lulls you into a false sense of security before devouring the listener whole as do the tracks that end the album, Sachsenheim and Triumph Of Death (a title and track that sounds like Celtic Frost with added sheer hatred).

At its bleakest and best, Carrier sounds like an unholy mixture of Hellhammer (of course!) and the aforementioned Celtic Frost with added dashes of Iron Monkey, Unsane, Black Anvil and Villains, all at their heaviest and when you add in the darkness of the atmospherics it takes the feeling of dread to another plateau.

In the majority of music there is a positivity contained within and even the more negative sounds can contain a glimpse of hope to it, a light at the the end of the tunnel, with Black Shape Nexus there is nothing at the end of the tunnel, only the bleak approach of sheer darkness and an unsettling feeling, and it is this feeling that defines Black Shape Nexus and on Carrier and it sound glorious.

Words by Gavin Brown

Carrier will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Exile On Mainstream Records from March 18th 2016.