Album Review: Nethervoid – Sirens of the Blistering Light

Sirens of the Blistering Light
Beyond the Pyres Records


There is a song on a Nethervoid demo tape called “Torch the Temple,” and if there is an image that better describes this Iowa City black metal band’s sound, I certainly can’t think of it.  And now, the group’s full-length debut, Sirens of the Blistering Light, they have escalated their sound to something closer to storming the Vatican.

The title track kick-starts the album like teaming masses assembling at the gates, lighting torches, and brandishing weapons.  The unrelenting, cacophonic drums pound through the archways and drive every note and scream.  But under the demonic incantations of vocalist Berith is the guiding force of Lord Visigoth’s baritone guitar.

The guitar work gives each song its vicious upward momentum.  Berith never really alters his pitch, the drums and bass rumble with ceaseless doom and gloom, but the fiery speed and precision of Visigoth’s guitar work give each song it’s own dimension.  The almost orchestral swells that open “Wyrm of World’s End,” the rapid fire picking and violent stabs on “Of This Sacred Circle,” and the arpeggiated crawl at the end of “Six Towering Pillars” are all enigmatic of his abilities and versatility.

Its also due largely to Visigoth’s work that Nethervoid dodges caricature.  Both black and death metal (yes, there’s a difference), like any other genre, rely on a certain set of generic clichés: double bass drum, occult lyrics, screaming/rasping rather than singing.  This quartet embraces those conventions, but the versatile, dexterous guitar gives these songs the width and breadth needed to sustain any album of any genre. Without Lord Visigoth leading the charge, changing direction, and wreaking his own havoc, Sirens of the Blistering Light is an admirable exercise by a group of talented musicians.  With him, it stands as an enjoyable, diverse, faceted listen