En Nihil – The Absolute (CD-R, Love Earth Music)

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Everything about The Absolute is cold and skeletal. From the very dark cover artwork – where somewhere beneath the black resides a skeleton – to the track titles made up of combinations of nihilistic words fit together to give the proper feeling of hatred, En Nihil’s packaging proclaims the attitude of the artist moniker to the utmost degree. And then, on the disc itself, are spinning skulls, which on every playthrough begin to resemble us in their endless cyclical pattern of decay.

Most of the tracks on The Absolute play out in similar stylings, adhering to the power electronics genre’s use of loops and death marches to send the listener on their way through a soundscape that becomes terrifyingly futile to escape. Opener “The Absolute” sets a mid-to-fast-paced march right away with pounding bass and screeching metal scalloping the listener at every turn. The loops keep churning with “Cold March”, a slower-paced plod with stuttery static, bated breathing sounds, and huge pounding bass. En Nihil makes good use of volume control on The Absolute, and the mixing of each noise on the songs makes every piece distinct, noticeable, powerful.

And the name of the game here is the pulsing loop, which makes its way all around the entirety of the release. But for power electronics, the loop isn’t so much important as the intensity which is felt as the track continues to repeat and condense. En Nihil interlaces these tracks with a lot of complexity, pairing high feedback with lower rumbles and static, all at the same time continuing that steady marching effect. On The Absolute, no growled vocals are necessary to relay the power of the sound – instead, it’s the complex pairing of two distinct sounds together with syncopated rhythms that imbues the track with emotion. “Crown of Nothing” stands out in particular with its rhythmic, almost symphonically-structured sounds, electronics that sound like instruments performing a dark opera. There’s a drama going on behind the crash of sound that metaphorically stands for the stomp of the attacking army.

With the end of the lengthy “Everything Ends (In Decay)”, it’s apparent En Nihil has achieved the sense of oblivion sought after – a dusky, murky mix of somnolent tones and whispering sounds that end in an excellent organ song perfect for a murder victim’s wake. The Absolute is dark, disturbing, and noisy, but it’s also got great hooks. March to death.

I believe this is still available. Pick it up here.

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