Nixa – “Opus Tierra” (War Anthem Records)
‘…dwelling in primordial riffs, anguished melodies, foreboding aural landscapes and heavy-as-mountains riffs…’, yep, I’d definitely concur with the Nixa’s self described view on themselves, although also I’d add the lush harmonies, beautiful vocals of Valentin Mellström and utterly epic atmosphere of this sophomore. Put it this way, “Opus Tierra” actually makes the sound shake!!! Formed in 2012, this Florida trio have already made their name sharing stages with High On Fire and Crowbar, and with this sterling release produced by Kristian Karlsson (Cult of Luna, Pg.Lost), stands to take them to the next level. Intelligently composed and sophisticated arranged, the 7 tracks blend seamlessly into each other as the music naturally flows like a river with the lyrics brought forth like poetry. Despite being only a 3 piece, Nixa manage to put out a gargantuan sound that would bring shame to larger bands, thanks to the amazing guitar and bass work of Raul Valentine and not forgetting Mike Rodriguez’s mammoth drum work that not just fills any gaps, but does so with quality and class. From the waves of crushing doom sludge come Valentine’s melancholic melodies on ‘Seed’ before Mellström’s heart grabbing vocals reach and hold your soul, steadfastly refusing to let go as the droning fuzz reverb and dense drums are pierced time and again by mournful guitar wails. On ‘Destroyer’ the distorted guitar maelstrom and tribal drums are exquisitely offset by beautifully sorrowful harmonies that are as dramatic as they are tender, added to by Valentine’s lead bringing more sadness before the song takes off, as the trio build the energy and emotion towards the climatic ending. Amid droning feedback comes ‘The Mound’ with Rodriguez’s pounding drums really adding to the already powerful atmosphere along with wails from Valentine’s lead as Mellström’s haunting and captivating vocals get sucked into the chundering storm of colliding epic riffs oh so magnificently. Brilliant doesn’t say it enough, “Opus Tierra” is an utterly compelling experience from start to finish.