Record Label: Metal Throne Productions
This is the second full-length from the Athenians following 2019’s Exitium and what it lacks in variety it makes up in intensity. This is straight-up nihilism with edgy chord shifts, sub-zero tremolos and thumping blasts. One thing that sets it apart is the vocals, which stretch to breaking point but somehow hold it together for the duration with throat-ripping anguish.
No Birth Nor End starts as it means to go on, as ‘Worship Our Death’ hammers in with a mesmerising Mgła feel. Searing tremolos rampage over pneumatic blasts before a pitch shift in the final third steers it down an even darker avenue and obligatory church bells toll its demise.
‘Dominion’ offers yet-more furious blasts with a hint of fragility in the riffs: a bone rattler with a sensitive side. Another highlight is ‘Will to Immortality’ which cools things down even further. Reverbed guitars hint at a post-black diversion, albeit atop a steady bedrock of double kicks. We get more of the gloomy spoken word so nicely executed on Exitium, establishing a haunting, near-gothic atmosphere. All hell unleashes at the mid-point, before some intriguing twists and turns.
‘Nekropolis’ offers (yet-more) relentless blasts and, while it doesn’t offer much out of the ordinary, it’s satisfying to bask in its icy despair. ‘Empyrean’ is a slow burner with a somewhat lighter melody, though the same juggernaut drums rip right through it. There’s a second wave feel to this one and, though I overlooked it on the first few listens, it has some moreish angles that deserve a closer listen.
More interesting still is the final track Sibylla, the title referencing a certain Delphic priestess. It opens with a mad occultic ramble from enigmatic performer IDVex (from gloomster electro project ½ Southern North), but the antiquarian antics soon give way to the most furious sound on the record: a multi-dimensional feast and a fitting climax.
All in, No Birth Nor Endis a slicker affair than Exitium, but it builds on the grinding despair so beautifully conveyed on their debut.
Hor – No Birth Nor End (Full Album)