Southern Lord (2007) Kevin Fitzpatrick

Striborg – Nefaria cover artwork
Striborg – Nefaria — Southern Lord, 2007

When all else is said and done, I like my metal like I like my coffee: black, bottomless, and smelling like the inside of a cave. It doesn't need to be fancy. No cream, no sugar no artificial flavors to make it more palatable. Sparse arrangements with sparser production that sounds like it was recorded amongst the smoldering remnants of a church under a full moon with one microphone to capture both the music and the ambient crackle of the embers… or it could be tape hiss.

In any case, if you agree with any of the above statements, you'll love Striborg. Upon first listen, you'd swear the group was from Norway but you'd be dead wrong, poser. Striborg is neither from Norway nor is it a group. It is but one man, one Tasmanian man with corpsepaint. Okay, that last statement isn't much of a shocker, but the fact that founder and sole member Sin Nanna - named after the Sumerian Crescent Moon God (Look it up at your local library!) - comes from the land of the mighty platypus and Steve Irwin can throw you for a loop. Because Striborg is the real deal and Nefaria is just the latest release in a ten-year history of spooky-ass minimalism that shows no signs of progression from the Cold Winter Moon demo, but it doesn't need to either.

This is music that you either dig, or you don't. It's that simple. There's no grey area. It's all black and blacker. If you like early Burzum, Darkthrone or Abruptum than I guarantee you will worship at this man's feet. If you normally like your black with the arpeggios and operatic elements but aren't a snob about it - give it a shot. Get back to basics. You can still have rising crescendos with spooky-as-shit atmosphere on a bare bones budget. Striborg is the primordial sludge, the prime "evil", if you will, that despite its seeming simplicity is very visual and complex in its execution. Also included on the CD is the Tragic Journey Towards the Light demo that meshes perfectly with the new material.

Those magnificent bastards at Southern Lord have also released the Embittered Darkness/Isle De Morts CD, which is also everything I proclaim this album to be. A raw, relentlessly bleak and beautifully hellish listen by the Tasmanian Devil himself.

Striborg – Nefaria cover artwork
Striborg – Nefaria — Southern Lord, 2007

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