Sectu - _Nefarious_
(ViciSolum Productions, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (9 out of 10)
Nefarious; an adjective describing something wicked or evil. Now, evil is something bigger than all of us, hence incomprehensible and elusive, yet manifested on a daily basis through the many atrocities committed all around us in its name. The notion of 'being wicked' is, however, more approachable, because we all sometime turn our 'wickedness' mode on and become a tad mischievous and naughty. Sectu is probably the sink for those dark desires, gathering under one roof an impressive collective of musicians in the biography of whom you can find bands that range from the most commercial and benign end of the spectrum (Evergrey, Soilwork, Therion) to the more extreme (Dawn, Mork Gryning); but even after reading the biography of the band members and the musical endeavors they all had participated in prior to recording _Nefarious_, you will remain none the wiser, as this knowledge is by no means going to disclose the true nature of this recording -- its polarity, its evil sounding metal, its hostility. Nothing will prepare you for this vitriolic attack on the senses. Nothing.

ViciSolum Productions has been gathering reputation pretty fast, and at this moment in time, with releases by Solace of Requiem, Souldrainer, Diabolical and Sectu, this unheralded Swedish label seems like it has established itself as one of the best metal labels currently active.

_Nefarious_ is not a pretty album to listen to; inconsequential concepts such as memorability, harmony, melody, hooks or whatever metal critics like to embellish their reviews with has no relevance here. _Nefarious_'s non-musicality is stark and purposeful, and the riffs it uses are all warped and twisted and bent and dissonant to the very core. The overall sound -- crisp yet deeply mysterious -- is that of a seething darkness, crawling with black sonic snakes full of fetid venom that are capable of tainting the very soul. The outcome is both repulsing and revering.

Sectu adopt Gorguts' _Obscura_ methodology of having no method whatsoever or an apparent rational structure to the music they play; they regard their metal as being liquid matter, or at least as if it were malleable material, free from the laws of physics, or music. Yet there is an inner logic invested in the album, keeping its total abstraction at bay, allowing the non-linear songs to sound somehow coherent and relateable, despite the ugly, unfathomable facade.

Not as blastbeat-happy as the aforementioned _Obscura_, however _Nefarious_ shares the same intrinsic hostile dissonance and the same 'non-musicality' to make a point. They use layers upon layers of strings that roam apparently aimlessly on the metallic spectrum, without an orderly structure to be heard for miles. Suddenly, out of nowhere, appears a guitar lead that sounds so misplaced, or a whole new pattern of drumming, that only add to the already chaotic, doomsday helter-skelter deep atmosphere Sectu are trying and succeeding to invoke.

_Nefarius_ is so much better than the 'dark and cavernous' forerunners of the style, namely Incantation and such, as well as infinitely more potent and talented than followers of that 'chaotic death metal' trend like the Australian nonsensical band Portal, Spanish Internet-hyped band Teitanblood, and even the American one-man entity Aevangelist. The death metal Sectu play is so ridiculously good, yet so non-trendy and polarized from everything you might have experienced prior to listening to this monster album -- it is uncanny.

If you happen to really, really appreciate the genius of _Obscura_, appreciate the death metal of bands such as Mithras (sans the Morbid Angel references) and like your death metal unmelodious, soul-shattering and disturbing, extremely dark and complex, as well as allegedly chaotic but with a sense of inner order never letting the music to slip into the realms of total and utter cacophony -- then this album is exactly what you're looking for.

Hands down, _Nefarious_ is easily one of the best (death) metal albums of 2014. This album is as extreme as metal gets, however the extremity is achieved not by aimless instrument noodling, maximum distortion capacity or incessant blasting (although those are definitely present in healthy doses), but by genuine musicianship, heightened perception of quasi-melody and free-form, jazz-oriented rhythms that will make your head spin with their interchangeability. An elusive, macabre, unfriendly and mind-bending challenging experience this album is; a phenomenal recording if there ever was one, period.

Contact: http://vicisolumrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nefarious

(article published 22/7/2014)


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