Krypta Nicestwa - Arkofagi Nocnych Zjaw [Harvest Of Death/Signal Rex - 2020]
Arkofagi Nocnych Zjaw is a recent mini-album by the Polish black metal band Krypta Nicestwa. This single-sided 12” vinyl has been released on Harvest Of Death, which is part of the Signal Rex label. Signal Rex operates out of Portugal, and has been responsible for releasing some absolute jewels throughout recent years; the most recent one being Glacial Conjuration by Occelensbrigg, released in November last year. Sarkofagi Nocnych Zjaw is the first release I’ve heard coming from the Signal Rex stable since that one, so I was really excited to give this one a listen.
The cover struck me as very accomplished. On the front, there are two skeletons mirroring each other. They are covered in what remains of their tunics; a book in one hand; gesturing the gravity of their declamations with the other. Behind them lies a dungeon in ruin. Just above their risen hands, the band logo is displayed. The logo is very much in the vein of black metal bands with a psychedelic touch to them.
First song "Spojrzenia świątyni Nocy" starts off with very clean and sparse bass plucking, a slow drum roll and a maniacal laugh before the guitar falls in. The sound reminds me a lot of Black Sabbath, a feeling I wasn’t able to shake off throughout the rest of the release. This song has some very accomplished, typical stoner doom riffs and doom moments; but unfortunately, I felt feel they didn't fully work in combination of the rather uninspired black metal tremolo riffs & vocals; vocals which on their own are top-notch, sounding rather hoarse and just demented enough, with a nice touch of reverb to them.
Moving onto the second song, "Czernie Bytów Chtonicznych". This followed the same formula as the first song: it starts with very typical stoner doom riff and drums, accompanied by some superbly paired back keyboards. Quickly this very effective moment gives way to the black metal side of things; the tremolo riffs; the blast beats. The track stays in this mode throughout the rest of the song, apart from a brief keyboard intermezzo/pause.
Sure enough, third song "Wsferze Pzoagrobowego Trwania" starts off with another Black Sabbath-inspired riff, nice vocals from singer/drummer V. and a very prominent keyboard (played by S., who is also responsible for the guitars and bass) before it speeds up into black metal territory. I'm sorry to say that this song passed by without leaving any impression whatsoever, it sounded like a dull rehash.
The last song, "Ołtarze Diabelskich Pierwocin", starts with the nicest scream of the whole album, adding an element of despair which he hadn’t been present until then. The initial riff sounded a bit sadder than the rest of the riffs on this album too, so honestly, I was hoping for something a bit more different and memorable than the other three songs. Unfortunately, my wish was only half met. Some of the riffs were definitely sadder and more effective, with the nice addition of V.’s more wail-ish type of scream; but for the most part, this song just felt like more of the same.
There is nothing wrong with repetition and formula as long as the song works; the delivery is strong; and the effect undeniable. Especially when it comes to black metal, innovation and technicality are no necessities to create highly gripping & blackly suffocating vibe. Unfortunately, most of the material on this album sounded rather bland and dull to my ears. There were no real moments that stood out or caught my immediate attention. No sonic scenery to get lost in. They really do have a sound that suits them perfectly during their stoner doom moments. Very occult ambient at times. It’s a shame those moments were so shortlived, so as a result I felt the failed to make captivating black metal craft. Damien De Coene