Danish deathcore mob, Hanging the Nihilist, released their debut EP on the 25th of January. That EP is called Crow and it’s released via Prime Collective.
Hanging the Nihilist are a Copenhagen based 6 piece who have worked tirelessly in their underground scene to hone their craft and carve their place. Determined to bring a mix of heavy riffs, aggressive vocals and melodic synth they state their common goals as being to break necks with their earth-shattering breakdowns and groovy riffs. The band are Marc Buch on vocals with Jon Arent and Casper Hollstein on guitars. Berna Baki is on the keyboards while William Ehlert is on the bass. Last but not least, on drums it’s Emil Juhl.
Hanging the Nihilist bring plenty of heaviness in Crow. They also bring plenty of progressive elements and some really exciting ideas. There are lots of moments I love but there are also bits find quite tough to listen to. Generally I find myself enjoying tracks where you can catch the groove or beat and head bang along and I struggled with that on the early parts of Crow.
Photo by Cornelius Cirkelspark
The opening track is called Abandoned. It starts off excitingly with a sombre keyboard melody that builds, suddenly joined by searing vocals and crunchy, metallic guitar slams. The drums are hard, the bass vibrates your bones and all that heaviness mixed with the keys sees your jaw drop. It holds so much promise but doesn’t live up to it completely. The vocals are intensely heavy and drop in different tones which I love but as we progress into different parts of the song, it gets muddy and hard to follow or be in synch with.
Synth backing operates at it’s own pace while the drums and guitars blast at different beats. It is hard to know what to headbang to or how to involve yourself in the song. At parts it’s like you pressed play on 2 music players playing 2 different songs at the same time. It is the same on the second track, Endless Crime. Face melting heaviness but with backing melody that operates with different timing. When it synchronises, it’s great but when it isn’t, it’s a little confusing.
Thankfully things click a lot more on the second half of the EP. Filth has probably the heaviest intro of the year so far. It explodes into life with a roared vocal line that is quickly joined by blasting drums and speed riffing with a sharp, metallic edge to the sound. It also settles into a deathcore groove in the middle with blasts of fury that I like a lot and my simple mind finds easier to follow.
The last two tracks are similar. Forgotten starts with echoing melody that is joined by insane drumming and a really cool riff. The vocals are delivered with fury and the mix of melody and vicious drumming/vocals works well enough and stays together enough for me to catch and enjoy the groove. Crow ends on Hostile where we again we get a mix of synth/sampling, some piano melody mixed with crunching drums and vicious vocals while the riff comes across machine like.
Crow is jam packed full of ideas and moments of creativity that you have to admire. It is also intensely aggressive which you have to admire. I love how they are mixing in so many elements to create a relatively unique sound and style. Hanging the Nihilist are certainly giving their all to expand genre boundaries. For all that I admire though, it is the simple things I have issues with. The early part of the EP is so progressive, so boundary destroying that simple things like a bit of groove, a bit of structure, a beat to headbang along to are lost. You know, the basics. The life blood of a metal head.
When they reign it in a little, in the second half of the EP, starting with Filth, it is still exciting. It is still creative but is also easy to follow and let loose to. Overall Crow is an admirable EP with a confused. but interesting, start but a powerfully strong second half. As far as debuts go though, it is a great effort. Hanging the Nihilist are a band with a big future and one to keep a close eye on.
You can grab a copy of Crow on all the usual streaming services now. You can alos pick up some of their songs on their Bandcamp page here. Find out more about Hanging the Nihilist at their Facebook, YouTube and Instagram pages.
Crow by Hanging the Nihilist (Prime Collective)
The Final Score - 7.5/10