Dum Spiro Spero
Dum Spiro Spero is disturbing and haunting Swiss death merchants Nihilo‘s sophomore full length album, and is yet another release to feature the epic, apocalyptic artwork of the excellent Paolo Girardi, leaving one to expect an extremely uneasy listening.
The apocalyptic visions that Nihilo has is immediately reflected from the introductory track, with sound samples of the downfall of mankind and the negativity of human nature before allowing all hell to break loose on On the Brink. The sound on Dum Spiro Spero is old school and raw as fuck, and one is quickly reminded of death metal in its earlier days. The chaos that is invoked through the riffs of Nicola as well as Nils brings to mind Incantation and Immolation with the darkness and the suffocating atmosphere, though there is also that thrashy edge at times with the speed-infused playing of drummer Damiano, who gives some nice Autopsy edge. Tracks like Last Man Standing also bring in some nice death ‘n’ roll grooviness, amidst the destruction that the band creates, and the technical and disturbing riffs on Risen from the Ashes can get rather reminiscent of bands like Demilich and Adramelech.
For releases as such, atmospherics are also extremely important, and apart from the leads of Nicola, the band doesn’t shy away from using instrumentation such as synths to send chills down the listener’s back, like on Death Swamp, which also happens to be one of the more memorable tracks on the album. The epicness in the band’s songwriting can also be heard on Shields of Justice, and the blaring of the trumpets/horns, as well as the orchestration is majestic as fuck, and one can’t help but be reminded of the recent Behemoth album. The main draw over here is perhaps the title track, Dum Spiro Spero which runs for 20 minutes, and is the perfect manifestation of the twisted frames of mind of the band – slow, doomy, gloomy and even ritualistic towards the end of the track.
Nihilo also includes some satire into their music, and the usage of spoken samples such as the end of On the Brink pokes fun at the way humans are always craving for attention, at the same time drawing renewed attention to the messages that the band seeks to bring to the listener.
It gets clear after a while that Nihilo doesn’t seek to reinvent the genre on Dum Spiro Spero. Instead, what Nihilo has managed to do on Dum Spiro Spero has been to bring together elements of their favourite bands, resulting in an album that will keep fans of old school death metal heading back to the album repeatedly.