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Ninkharsag – The Dread March Of Solemn Gods

ninkharsag – the dread march of solemn gods


The UK Black Metal band Ninkharsag was founded by Paul Armitstead in 2009, after his former band Unsanctum was carried to its grave. I remember Unsanctum of its Cacophanous Records released debut album, ‘Ignite The Skies’, from 2003. I received the promo for a review on Vampire-Magazine, VM-Underground’s predecessor and I remember not at all being impressed by it. I haven’t heard its 2007 follow-up nor Ninkharsag’s debut album from 2015, but I am astounded by the musical progression that is made in those almost two decades. I have listened to ‘The Dread March Of Solemn Gods’ quite a few times over the past months and I can only conclude that is a satisfying listen.

Though being started as a solo-project by guitarist Armitstead, Ninkharsag was soon expanded to a full band, including his former Unsanctum bandmate James Pipprell on drums. Musical aims were clear from the start, melodic Black Metal with lots of space for the expression of musicality. The preceding ‘The Blood Of Celestial Kings’ was graced in a Karmazid drawn arty black/white cover, but this new one has a cover that fits much better to the musical content. ‘The Dread March Of Solemn Gods’ is a full Dissection-worshipping Melodic Black Metal album and then a cover featuring a grim reaper in blue/purple and white tones cannot be left out.

Musically we’ll get served with well-crafted melodic riffs and leads duelling together along the tracks, rattling drums and icy vocals are there to nicely top things off. Though being melodic, it doesn’t get into all too mellow territories, it still has enough to offer to keep your attention from wandering off. The dynamics are mostly found in the versatile and creative guitar work and the change of tempo’s, from mid-tempo pounding to fast blast beats. Though being a great record, it might not surprise that ‘The Dread March Of Solemn Gods’ doesn’t really near ‘Storm Of The Light’s Bane’, but it does a good job of filling the gap that arose after Dissection’s iconic first releases. It may also not fully honour Ninkharsag to call it a Dissection worshipping band, after all, they do try to find something of a path of their own, for instance, it is less riff-based and there is more emphasis on Heavy Metal-inspired guitar leads than the Swedes brought. But it’s impossible to completely shake off the similarities and as far as I’m concerned that’s no problem at all, it’s a kind of metal that, despite being on the rise, isn’t played very much.


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