For every single one of us, we all have a select few bands and musicians that take us to a very special place in our minds, and the euphoria they give to us is simply everlasting. In my case, Downfall of Nur is one such group. Last year, the one man group stunned me, and I eagerly awaited a follow-up of any kind. Teaming up with the fellow group of similar style that is Selvans, the two artists came together to create this brand new collaboration. Not a split – collaboration. As in they worked together to create a single experience and not just throwing songs onto the same disc as one another. But it’s in this case that we get the extremely rare result that is something that can be called nothing short of a monolithic journey.
Very little times can one specific style of music, much less metal, seem to continuously pump out records that truly stick into the brains of many people and astound them even after the music in question has been played over and over and over again. The territory of pagan metal (for the uninitiated: black and folk metal that came together and made a baby) is one of those few areas of music that can produce so many wonders of music that those who constantly sift through its contents are always finding something that takes us to new worlds and new experience that we never knew existed and will mostly likely never find again. Two bands that consistently do that, as you might’ve guessed by now, are both Selvans and Downfall of Nur. Both showed their true mastery of bringing together metal with so many other styles on previous records that even after works from both of them have been out for over a year now, it’s still hard to wrap my head around them after hearing them so many times. That’s a sign of a good band, however, and with both of them creating mind fucking experiences in their own rights, I couldn’t wait to see what each could come up, and the result that is this collaboration is something that honestly cannot be missed if you want a real experience that you aren’t going to forget anytime soon, and you immediately see why after playing this stupendous record.
Four tracks. That’s all this record has to offer, but much like many albums before its time this piece makes up for its short track listing by having songs that stretch well over ten minutes long, and they help make this record clock in a total run time of over forty fucking minutes. That’s over a half hour of pristine metal that’s on a whole ‘nother level that we all knew existed, but it’s very scarcely visited anymore. “Selvans / Downfall of Nur” combines so much of what I love about a more creative metal in so many ways that even after my fifth spin of this album it’s still an absolute fucking stunner. First, we get Selvans who deliver the first two tracks that are probably the more catchy of the four tracks that this piece has to offer, and they also bring more instrumental diversity by bringing in what even sounds like a set of bagpipes, keyboards, and minor electronic effects that really help add a new layer to the mix of what really feels like an otherworldly trek through the very fabric of nature itself. But then in comes the lone man behind Downfall of Nur. To say that this man has evolved his sound from what he did last year with “Umbras de Barbagia” would be a grievous understatement. He makes up the tail end of the record and what is the longest track (just under 18 minutes) of this collaboration, “Mater Universi”, and it’s easily the most intense. Going hand in hand with what Selvans laid down just before him, Downfall of Nur cranks this up to another plane of mind-fuckery that Selvans briefly touched on during their time in the sunlight, but it’s during the shining of the moon that Downfall of Nur travels to one specific world and delves deeper into it than anyone could’ve seen coming before listening to it. And when you reach the end of this collaboration, you’ve been through so many different worlds, felt like you’ve taken more drugs than there are in existence and have had more experiences than what you could ever experience on this Earth, and it is just simply something that you can’t go through once. It’s something that you keep close to you for quite some time, finding solace in its magnitude and coming back to it when you want to get away from this world and visit another that you know you can always go, and one that you always find eternal solace in.
A tranquil beginning, enticing build-up, cataclysmic climaxes, and a beautifully perfect ending all coalesce into this fucking magnificent experience that cannot be replicated anywhere by anyone, not even if Selvans and Downfall of Nur came together once more. This album is one of those that only comes around once in a good while, and it’s best to not let it pass you by. It’s a piece that transcends so much more than musical boundaries and creates something that only one in five hundred million albums could match (that math is not real, FYI). Should you want a cinematic journey that you cannot find elsewhere before the end of 2016, and one that you are going to want to keep close to your heart for the rest of your metal loving days, then allow to Selvans and Downfall of Nur to take your hand and fall into the void.
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