No matter how oversaturated the scene gets, no matter how tired the tropes of the genre become, deathcore, it seems, steadfastly refuses to die. It may be a different beast now than it was back in 2006 when it was little more than ridiculous MySpace profile photos, chugs and pig squeals – it has had to relentlessly evolve and become more and more extreme to stand out from the competition. Deathcore doesn’t get much more extreme than Sunderland’s Nexilva, whose new record ‘Eschatologies’ is a monolithically crushing work, encompassing elements of djent and progressive metal into their bruising maelstrom of harsh vocals, monumental riffs and pounding blastbeats. However, for all its technical proficiency, and my personal pangs of jealousy at the otherworldly skills of the band at an age range of 20-22 (I’ve wasted my life…), the music feels a little soulless – besides “Wow, you’re really good at your chosen instruments”, it won’t make you feel much of anything.
After a brief intro track, the album gets underway with ‘The Misdirection Of God’, a tour-de-force of brutality played at an unrelentingly blistering pace. It becomes very apparent very quickly, though, that this album cannot be called out for particular high or low points – it’s all a dazzling spectacle in punishing technicality, like all the fireworks in a display going off at once, but no big bonfire afterwards to warm your cockles, thereby leaving one colder than an early November evening. Nexilva do occasionally temper their constant assault with some “ooky shpooky” synth parts borrowed from black metal, and while they do provide the occasional respite from the constant pummelling ‘Eschathologies’ doles out, they only serve to add a slight scent of Gorgonzola to proceedings.
Another aspect that makes this record a little hard to digest is its length – its fourteen tracks constitute over 45 minutes of play, and while it may not be as laborious as some metal records (I’m looking at you, ‘Lulu’), when one track ends and thus begins another session of aural battery, you’d either have to be young enough or uninitiated in this genre to be sufficiently and consistently blown away by the technical wizardry to be able to handle this in one go. While this is undoubtedly impressive and represents a big step forward in the evolution of the genre, when everything on display is going to the absolutely extremities of, erm, extremeness, the effect becomes nulled and ‘Eschathologies’ becomes possibly the last thing Nexilva expected it to become during its conception – tedious.
While the sextet may never have the crossover appeal of compatriots such as Bring Me The Horizon, it’s encouraging to see Brits producing a record that can hang with the Stateside giants of the genre, but ‘Eschathologies’ is a classic case of extreme metal’s inherent inaccessibility and alienating nature become a hindrance. Nexilva will undoubtedly be the next name on the lips of every shaven-headed dude with ridiculously massive flesh plugs and camo shorts, as their astonishing ability at such a tender age will see them held in high regard within their territory, but from someone who’s heard other bands do this far more effectively in a far less complex manner, the labyrinthine layers of this record make it nigh-on impenetrable. This is much like the musical equivalent of a Michael Bay movie – beneath the gratuitous and excessive special effects, what substance there may have been in other hands has been lain asunder here. The worst part is that not one of these chaps looks a thing like Megan Fox.
‘Eschatologies’ by Nexilva is out now on Ghost Music.
Words by Ollie Connors (@olliexcore)