‘Madness Incarnate’ is two things. It’s the EP from American ambient black metallers Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus, released in May on Symbol of Domination Records. But it is also what I feel every time I have to try and spell Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus! Inspired by the Finnish homeland of creator Mika Mage, these guys are grim and frost bitten black metal to the core.
The hypnotic waves of atmospheric black metal wash over you immediately in opener ‘Traversing the Frozen North’, and the morbid crawl of the title track cranks up the intensity. There are many synonyms for the kind of cold, frozen, icy feeling that oozes from these riffs, but ‘bleak’ is probably the most accurate. ‘Madness Incarnate’ is like being lost in the woods, staring into a blizzard knowing you’ll never escape. There’s a depressive, smothering atmosphere that drenches each melody in grey rain.
Black metal generally fires up one of three emotions; depression, coldness or fire. Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus flirts with all three, but their bleak, depressive atmospheric moments that lurk behind the bile soaked riffage in tracks like ‘Immaculate Deconception’ is where the band are strongest. ‘Madness Incarnate’ is an excellent piece of modern black metal that presents itself as something vital and essential.