In recent weeks, Iran has been in the U.S. news a lot, but unfortunately it’s not regarding their metal scene. Maybe we can get the left- and right-wingers to at least agree on what constitutes good death metal. Is that too much to ask? Probably. In any case, let’s see how Nex Carnis do with their first full-length, Obscure Visions Of Dark.
Take a (reportedly) strict government and mix in the scorching desert heat, and it’s no surprise that Iran becomes a veritable Petri dish for extreme music. Formed in 2012, Nex Carnis had some challenges filling out its roster. Resorting to programmed drums and guitarist Incruent performing the bass lines for their 2012 demo, Death of the Flesh, Nex Carnis eventually recruited a Czech drummer and a session bassist for their debut album.
Although hanging their hats on the "old-school death metal" moniker, opener Darkened Rites of Existence shows elements of blackened thrash have made their way into the music. Crunching guitar riffs and blast beats intermingled with tempo slowdowns set the stage for what to expect from the next five tracks.
The second track, Cryptic Depths of Unlight, eschews the thrashier elements for more of a straightforward death metal approach. Vocalist Asto Vidatu drops some guttural roars that are surprisingly decipherable. This track in particular gives off some vibes reminiscent of the late Impetigo.
Dissolution in Vortex of Sanity sees some experimentation with sudden tempo changes, some more successful than others. The same could be said of Descent Into Ethereal Realms, although the brief guitar-only bit in the middle of the song and the spoken-word bits toward the end add some eerie elements to the track. The near-seven-minute closer, Murky Pits of Time, is the most black metal-sounding track on the album but suffers a bit due to its length and just how many disparate elements are going into this song.
Unfortunately, the bass seems fairly muted throughout the album and doesn’t really get to shine until the fifth track, Abolishing Rancid Thrones of Deceit. Considering this was only a session bassist for the album, that’s not unheard of.
While Nex Carnis may not be doing anything particularly new or inventive, Obscure Visions Of Dark is a strong debut, filled with intensity and a solid production. Too many of the newer OSDM bands simply mimic the 1990s Swedish scene, but the blackened elements help set Nex Carnis apart. If you’re new to the Iranian metal scene or just looking for some talented up-and-comers, Nex Carnis is definitely a band to keep an eye on. I see bright things for the band, and experience should make them a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Special thanks to the band for the complementary review copy.