Sometimes when you fire up an album by an unknown band and it’s instantly pretty great, the next step is to discover The Origins. With Nigredo and debut full length Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced, the answer is Athens, Greece, but just as important as their location is their roster. Alexis Papatheofanous (who goes only by A.) handles guitar, bass, and vocals, and has been handling vocal duties in Ravencult for the past few years. So there’s one major pedigree point already. Add to that drummer Maelstrom — who plays drums in Dephosphorus and about 100 other bands and used to play drums in Ravencult and about 100 other bands — and that pedigree doubles.
Basically, Flesh Torn is one of those “get out of it what you want” types of albums, and thankfully it offers listeners plenty to dig. Opener “Ten Repellent Antiforces” churns and thrashes, not sounding unlike a bouncier Sargeist, and instantly shows off A.’s beastly vocal range (gruff growls, desperate yells, near wails). Elsewhere, “Choronzon Possession” opens the album up a touch with some bendy riffs and atmosphere, while “Towards The Monolith” features some wicked cool cascading riffs and drum patterns.
The whole whole album is basically some combination of these elements, which is really one of the only knocks you could make against it. Despite not even being 42 minutes long, it does start to run together by the end, but Nigredo largely overcomes this through the quality of the performances. As mentioned, the vocals are absolutely vicious, and A.’s riff writing is equally deft. But the real star might be the drumming of Maelstrom, who is fully deserving of the nickname. He handles every type of rhythm with ease, from the gallops and ferocious blasts to the twitchy technical passages and the parts where things offer a bit more space.
The performances go a long way to ease any minor concerns about the songwriting. And in truth, the songs are there, but the performances are really there, and a little more seasoning ought to push the former that extra step to be as exciting as the latter. When that happens, watch out. Until then, Nigredo has appetites sufficiently whetted with Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced.