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Nansarunai – Ultimul Rege

Nansarunai is part of a new batch of raw black metal bands that emerged from Indonesia. That country is usually associated with brutal death metal, but bands like this prove that the nation’s scene is just as diverse as any other. Like so many other bands that play this style of black metal, the members choose to remain anonymous. They named themselves after a medieval Dayak kingdom that existed on the island of Kalimantan. It lasted for two hundred years before being brought to an end by the Majapahit Empire. This Dayak identity makes itself known in every aspect of the band’s music, from the album cover to the song titles.

The production, as expected, is lo-fi and abrasive, but it’s also extremely atmospheric. It sounds like it was recorded in an ancient stone temple that was abandoned hundreds of years ago. Musically, the band combines traditional black metal with simpler arrangements that also incorporate dark and spectral melodies. It’s vaguely reminiscent of The Black Legions from France. The drums offer up a performance that mostly consists of straightforward mid-paced rhythms and rumbling blast beats. Sometimes the cymbals break through and offer up a nice cacophony, and they also make sure to include plenty of fills.

The vocals consist of haunting howls and screams that echo through the thick, corrosive fog. They sound like a ghost haunting the jungle at night. The guitars are excellent, which is to be expected of the Indonesians. They play frantic tremolo riffs that have a terrifying tone that will send chills down your spine. The high-pitched chords that occasionally accompany them make the experience even more unsettling. The riffs can become raging and discordant during the blasting sections, but there is a current of melody that flows through every song and brings the viewer in with its spellbinding beauty. This is made apparent by songs like “III. Old Panegyric Poem”.

Raw black metal does not come out of Indonesia very often, but when it does, as is the case with this album, it’s fantastic. Nansarunai really know how to make music that is harsh and abrasive on one hand and melodic and atmospheric on the other.