There are bands that treat their music like a roller coaster ride – methodical ascensions, drastic descents, stomach churning twists and turns. For the last decade and through a bevvy of releases Germany’s caustic sextet known as Black Shape of Nexus have built a foundation upon taking their sound not just on a roller coaster ride, but right off the tracks and into the abyss. With new album, Carrier, about to fall from the sky Black Shape of Nexus prove yet again that basic genre descriptors and predictability need not apply.
From the opening salvo of “I Can’t Play It” it is brutally clear that Black Shape of Nexus has spent the four years in between this and their last full length to get a little weirder, a little heavier, and a little more eager to blur the lines of where one genre ends and another begins. The aforementioned opener starts with a sludgy barrage of crusty doom, complete with a sinister and memorable centerpiece riff, before it digresses into the smoke-filled haze of a late night jazz club, a jazz club that will eventually be engulfed in the flames of another bombastic outburst. But this seven minute dirge is just the tip of a very manic musical iceberg. “Lift Yourself” starts with pure dark ambiance only to have the atmosphere annihilated by a rabid torrent of thrash-infused punk. Meanwhile “Facepunch Transport Layer” takes various ‘posts’ – metal, rock, hardcore – and mashes them together into a highly infectious and engrossing eight minute excursion to the side of the tracks that doesn’t seem nearly as gritty as this outfit is used to pitching their collective tent.
The collective amalgamation of all their varied influences may shine brightest on the final two tracks. “Sachsenheim” is as dissonant as it is brutal, combining both tortured growls and wistful clean vocals with everything from plodding doom to shredding guitar solos to a sinister post-metal aesthetic. The album finishes with an absolutely ripping cover of Hellhammer’s “Triumph of Death.” It’s a track that not only does the original justice but may actually surpass it as Black Shape of Nexus make something that originally sounded heavy and tormented sound completely ferocious in the best way imaginable.
Black Shape of Nexus have always existed on the dark side of the musical moon, where genres morph and fade into each other, sometimes in the most unconventional ways possible. On Carrier, they continue to carry that torch of the unconventional as they’ve seemingly expounded on their ability to make the unimaginable completely tangible. For anyone looking for an album that mixes sheer brutality with the unforeseeable you’ve come to the right place.
Carrier is scheduled to hit the streets via Exile on Mainstream on March 18. You can experience the track “Facepunch Transport Layer” at the Black Shape of Nexus Bandcamp page.