Friday 27 August 2021

Nullingroots - Malady's Black Maw

Labels: Beverina Productions/Casus Belli Musica

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 12 Oct 2019


1. Heaven Bending

2. Ember

3. To Die In A Memory

4. Erase Your Map

5. Mendacious

6. Inculcate

7. Tellurian

One thing I've been planning to do for a while has been to begin going through my digital archive and to start writing about releases from within it. The first release I've pulled out is the 2019 album Malady's Black Maw by US blackgaze/post-metal band Nullingroots, which was released by Beverina Productions and Casus Belli Musica. They began as Solus in 2012 before their name changed to Nullingroots. Since 2014, they've released two singles and four full-lengths. Their Metal Archives page says that they're still part of the Prosthetic Records roster, but I'm not sure that's accurate anymore and they haven't been active for a while so may be on hiatus.

This review forms part of my attempt to get back into writing on a more regular basis (not that I should need any encouragement). Despite being a part of my digital archive for some time now, Nullingroots and their 2019 album Malady’s Black Maw are somewhat new to me. I’ve heard of the band before but sadly and embarrassingly, that’s as far as it’s got. I always regret sleeping on bands and on hearing album opener ‘Heaven Bending’, it’s no different. Though they’re described as a post-black/shoegaze band, Nullingroots are both a lot heavier and a lot more technical than that here. 

You just have to consider that ‘Heaven Bending’ clocks in at well over eleven minutes and you’ll realise that they’re more progressive than they are pensive. Movements go from hellish to atmospheric and then to musically upbeat. There’s way more to this record than just black metal and we’re only coming to the end of the first song! There’s certainly no escaping just how metallic the band’s sound is on ‘Ember’. At times it’s utterly barbaric and even somewhat (unintentionally) symphonic, yet at others it’s so melodic and mind-bending. I guess there’s no simple way to approach this album other than to suck it and see. Hell, it works for me!.

There are genuine moments of shoegaze and truly atmospheric post-metal woven into this album and it’s way more obvious on ‘To Die In A Memory’, which is delivered brilliantly. I think that Nullingroots would easily sit amongst some of best modern-day black metal bands, even if they don’t have the hell, fire and brimstone approach of old. Sometimes they’re considered and melodic, but as they march on into the second half of ‘To Die In A Memory’, they turn on a dime and deliver some truly icy vocals, and blasting instrumentation. They switch between both approaches for the rest of the song.

Their take on epic musicianship is carried on through ‘Erase Your Map’, which signals the mid-point in Malady’s Black Maw. Comparisons are escaping me at this point, but then again I’m not being lazy and settling for the usual thing. You’ll just have to listen to this record and make up your own minds. However you perceive the band, you can’t argue with the quality that’s on show. Curiously, as you get further into the album, the songs get a little shorter. Eight minutes (roughly average) isn’t that short in truth and the time still allows Nullingroots to make their point. ‘Mendacious’ leans further towards the traditions of black metal once again, though introspection still presides over some passages here.

This album goes through so many different twists and turns within it’s individual songs, yet as one cohesive body of work it’s such an enjoyable listen. Penultimate song ‘Inculcate’ simply rages, exemplifying everything that’s good about extreme metal. It’s layers of sound wash over you and even when things settle a touch, there’s still an uneasy sense that they’re just building back up to something grander. Closing song ‘Tellurian’ is a real chip off the old block, with some added (albeit subtle) symphonic/orchestral instrumentation thrown on for good measure… to these ears anyway! Whether that’s accurate or not, it’s one final top quality slab of post-black metal from a band that deserves so much more exposure than they get. Considering Malady’s Black Maw consists of just seven tracks, it’s well worth immersing yourself in for it’s entirety. Fingers crossed there will be more from Nullingroots in the future!

You can stream and buy Malady's Black Maw both on digital and more importantly, physical formats below:-

Nullingroots -

Beverina Productions -

Casus Belli Musica -

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