Review: Nephylim – Severance of Serenity

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Label: Self-released

Severance of Serenity is an album that brings the adjective “forceful” to mind. The brand of melo-death displayed by Nephylim may recall the masters of the genre – chiefly Amon Amarth in that kind of largely mid-tempo, stomping way of theirs – but it does so without sounding uninspired or tired. Severance of Serenity is the kind of album that understands that sometimes, it’s more important to be good than it is to be original; whilst it sticks pretty closely to the melo-death template, it does so in a way that demonstrates the best of the genre. If that sounds like damning it with faint praise, well, that’s to underestimate how damn forceful it all sounds. Frankly, Severance of Serenity is taking no prisoners.

One of Amon Amarth’s strongest points has always been their ability to craft a decent melody atop bruising riffs, and that’s a lesson Nephylim have learned too. Songs like ‘Fractured Existence’ blend that mix of muscularity and graceful melody that the best melo-death demonstrates, whilst ‘The Bitter Inheritance’ features a staccato melody that would have done At The Gates proud. The result is an album that has an emotive edge to it, as well as possessing the kind of force that demands raised fists and headbanging. If recent albums from some of the grand masters of melo-death have sounded a bit like they were simply going through the motions, Severance of Serenity is the sound of a band enthused by the music they’re making, with real passion displayed throughout. Even the melancholic instrumental interlude ‘Reassurance’ has a spirit and life about it that is infectious.

The sense of driving force that Nephylim display throughout is what makes Severance of Serenity so strong an album, and such an enjoyable listen. It may be something of a genre-piece, but it’s one that absolutely nails the fundamentals, exemplifying all that is good about melo-death. Speaking as someone who is generally a fan of death metal when it’s more primitive and crude than this, Severance of Serenity has completely won me over.

Severance of Serenity is available digitally via Bandcamp, and on CD directly from the band.

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