EP Review: Nihil Est by Belial

I’m not really a fan of much technical metal. Maybe it’s because I am a simple man with simple musical needs…  However Swindon tech-death band, Belial have certainly peaked my interest with their latest EP.

The band doesn’t just play a thousand notes in quick succession in an attempt to impress. Instead, you get well thought out riffs, full of intricate little bridges and  progressions. In Extremis opens with haunting echoes before bulldozing you with an explosive riff that has plenty of bounce and the odd squeal. These sort of groove riddled riffs that don’t overdo the twiddly twangy guitars are more impressive  as anyone can truly get invested into the music. You  don’t have to sit and listen to someone demonstrate every guitar technique under the sun in three minutes. That’s not say Nihil Est doesn’t flaunt all its got, Ø has some insane drum fills and sweeping guitar licks that erupt out of nowhere. They are just so tight and fast. Belial know exactly when these sorts of additions are needed and when they aren’t, creating a less formulaic structure that keeps things interesting.

There is also plenty of moshing opportunities as Belial don’t shy away from  bringing the music down on your head. Odium is head banging heaven as the bass and drums build up tension before all hell breaks loose, with the belly below of vocals and guitars joining in the fun. This creates sections with almost breakdown like qualities without having to use the arm flailing chuggy hardcore method.

The atmosphere created is palpable. Each song has this dark feel to it with the use of electronics and samples, not to mention the perfect use of off guitar melodies to haunt the back ground. In Origin nearly goes full on black metal for a split second with ankle splitting blast beats, shrill vocals and some of the most evil sounding guitars. It is these little touches that really make the EP stand out

Belial have taken their music to its logical conclusion. Taking a leaf from prog, deathcore, technical metal and adding their own flavour of sinful melodies Belial have create a sophisticated EP. Nihil Est doesn’t simply blow its load on the opening track and expect you to be impressed, it encapsulates you to the very end.

Score: 9/10

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