Hanging The Nihilist - Crow EP [Review]
After two years of songwriting and playing with and learning from other bands, doing other projects to refine their own talents, Hanging The Nihilist finally releases the fruit of their efforts with their debut EP, Crow. I decided to not wait until Friday when I received an opportunity to get a sneak peek at the EP thanks to HTN.
So how does this debut EP stack up to the juggernauts of the European Deathcore scene?
About The Band
Hailing from the Copenhagen area of Denmark, Hanging The Nihilist is a younger group who have taken a slow burn approach in songwriting, playing live, and refining their craft not only collectively, but individually. The results is the 5 track EP Crow, produced by Chris Kreutzfeldt.
With 3 tracks already released, the final pieces will see the light of day and Crow will be complete on the 25th of January. So far the reception has been very positive and welcoming from bands and listeners alike.
MHW did a recent interview with Hanging The Nihilist, which I asked about how the band was initially formed:
HTN: This is actually a very long story, but we’ll try to keep it short.
Way before HTN Jon, Emil and Berna (guitar, drums and keyboard) played together in another band.
However that band split up due to different interests in music. However Jon, Emil and Berna, stayed together and decided to keep playing.
In early 2016 we found our bassist, William, and in mid 2016 we teamed up with Marc on vocals.
With that line-up we wrote Crow, and here in mid 2018 we’ve finally finished the lineup with Casper as our second guitarist.
Click here to read the full interview with Hanging The Nihilist!
The EP starts with the unreleased track “Abandoned”. It starts with a nice piano roll and with a nice sweep the track kicks in at full force. The riffs are deep, almost bellowing, while the drums kick powerfully and perfectly in sync with the dark tone of the track. Marc Buch’s vocals are just absolutely insane blaring perfectly over the fast paced masterpiece. The piano and symphonic effects add a nice gentle “Modern Black Metal” touch as it doesn’t overpower the track and make it even more atmospheric. The change ups are transitioned beautifully.
From a production standpoint, Kreutzfeldt did a flawless job introducing HTN like this as well as the whole EP. I thought the three crushing singles were good, impressive even, but “Abandoned” just takes you on a whole different ride. This pretty much goes with the rest of the EP.
“Endless Crime” sounds more thrashier with some classic elements of Death Metal. It showcases their diversity in quite a few ways. Buch shows just how much of a wide range he can use his vocals in this track. While there are some atmospheric sounds to the track, even taking the song out, this was a more edgier track.
“Filth” showcases the atmospheric traits of HTN with the heavy symphonic undertones brought on by Berna Baki. It’s a dark and heavy track that doesn’t go too fast which just enhances the feel of the track. One of the unique things about HTN is Berna’s addition of that dark, Gothic bow that helps tie this whole thing together and separates HTN from a lot of other acts.
What I particularly liked in “Forgotten” was the riffs. The guitar solo playing along the piano gently rolling behind a thunderous battle cry drum pace and then a nice deep chugging riff in the breakdown. It should also be noted that guitarists Arnet, Holestien and Ehlert are so dominant together as far as their sound goes.
“Hostile” is the other unreleased track off the EP. It’s a nice, fast, edgy and short track that completes the EP nicely with driven riffs. In the hardcor-ish breakdown, Buch has almost a normal yell with no growl or screech that swings to a nice deep bellow. A nice little reminder that as a vocalist, Buch is the real deal.
Another unique thing about Crow I fell in love with is the songwriting. When I heard “Abandoned” and “Hostile” I asked HTN keymaster Berna Baki about the songwriting as far as if there was a primary songwriter or if Crow is a collective effort. Baki replied:
Our guitarist Jon (Arnet) writes almost everything. He sends me the demo songs after and I add keys to them and we send it to drummer Emil (Juhl) to change or polish the drums, so I would say group effort. And of course, Marc (Buch) our vocalist writes the lyrics.
This is a very good system as it allows each track to become it’s own collective five headed hydra of what I consider a new breed of metal that we all should be keeping an eye on. For being so young, HTN sure come out looking like pros with their content.
As a 30+ year veteran of listening to metal, within three minutes of “Abandoned” I was grabbed by the balls. Each track just crushes a lot of music I have heard in the past however many years which is impressive considering there’s A LOT of good music out there. What I truly enjoyed about Crow, and the band for that matter, is their genre defying style of songwriting. In an age where so many bands get pigeonholed into a genre (even I did this calling them Deathcore. After hearing the EP in it’s entirety, I can admit that I was set strait) HTN breaks barriers to the point they could be put into the “Modern Atmospheric, Black/Death/Metalcore Metal”. Kidding aside, I can respect going outside the box more than anything and HTN did just that without going too far outside, but enough that they stand out. It may sound confusing to some who play the genre guessing game, but to me it’s a nice middle finger to the whole concept of genres.
You can hear the self taught experience and effort in Crow. You can tell every attention to detail was made for a flawless effort both in songwriting and production. I would almost go as far as to say that Crow may be one of the standards for 2019. After hearing it, many might agree that as HTN gains more notoriety, other bands in the scene might have to step it up a little.
While Van Halen is reuniting, Slipknot and MANY other established acts are releasing a new album and the festivals and tours have unbelievable lineups, 2019 is a busy year for metalheads. But underneath all that are some young and really talented bands. Bands like Hanging The Nihilist. Bands that if I was you, I would not sleep on.
For me, watching these new acts debut, grow and evolve is what is exciting to me in music. A lot of bands don’t make it, but hopefully, HTN has the sustainability to go for a long time to come. Given their great attitudes, I personally think they have the potential to go as far as they want.
One thing I do wonder is what the band’s future plans are now that the album is out. Will they strike while the iron is hot and tour, or will it be like Rise Of The Northstar’s story where it was a very slow burn, yet every release was a special event until they take that next step?
Time will tell.