Having made their presence known with their 2021 debut, All Knots Untied, Nixil has steadily garnered a loyal following through live appearances across the United States – sharing stages alongside Hulder, Evoken, Molder, Yatra, and an appearance at Maryland Deathfest 2022 along the way. Time spent on the road served to sharpen their collective musicianship and fully realise Nixil’s desire for collaborative unity and authenticity within the group ahead of From the Wound Spilled Forth Fire’s creation.
Nixil’s scorched earth approach to black metal’s sonic extremities offer a radical alternative to secular approaches to, and readings of, their craft. Where All Knots Untied was an introductory affair for the quintet, 2023 sees the band further expand upon concepts of chaos gnosticism, ego-death, self-empowerment and freedom.
We asked the band to pick 3 releases that have influenced them a lot in the creation of their music. They comment:
“This was a hard question because none of us directly identify a specific band or album as being immediately influential on the process of writing this album in particular; more than anything, experiences dictate the sort of sound/atmosphere we want to create, with the intention of purging, soothing, or amplifying whatever we’re working through or feeling at the time – catharsis above all. There’s also a lot that seems to come out whether we’re thinking about it or not; Alden is a huge fan of Propagandhi and you can occasionally hear that in his guitar solos. He spent a lot of time listening to them – as well as The Mind’s I by Dark Tranquility and Ceremony of Opposites by Samael – to decompress during the recording process, as well as to get himself in the mood for a less technical production style than he’s used to. Other albums that one or more of us have had on frequent rotation while writing this record which may or may not have had an impact on the finished product: Sonja – Loud Arriver, Katatonia – City Burials, Tribulation – Where the Gloom Becomes Sound, Misotheist – For the Glory of Your Redeemer.
That said, there are three albums that tend to find their way into our music one way or another…”
Photo credit: Shane K Gardner
The Devil’s Blood – The Thousandfold Epicentre
C (vocals): The Devil’s Blood is a band I listen to pretty much constantly. Selim’s lyrics have been a huge boon for me in learning how to work within the magickal systems that I do, and while his words are not a direct stylistic influence on the way that I write (though there may be a hidden homage or two), the way that he so eloquently expresses his experiences within these systems which are generally so inexpressible has been a huge inspiration; it feels like encouragement from beyond the grave. Selim writes in a fashion that is not attempting to be edgy; he’s not trying to look hard, or describe these energies through a false lens of ego which only serves to restrict the chaotic potential these spirits embody. He expresses a more well-rounded, personal portrayal of his relationship to the divine, and seems to write from his heart, from an open and expansive place of emotion. Oftentimes in traditional black metal, when touching on anticosmicism, there is an apparent denial of emotion and feeling beyond the veneer of evil and horror – which, while may indeed be experiences relevant to the work, when focused on exclusively it serves to deny the practitioner the full gamut of emotions that may arise when really diving into it. I believe one’s relationship to anticosmic energies should be expansive and unlimited; Selim expresses a more well-rounded, personal portrayal of his relationship to the divine, and I strive to write my lyrics from this perspective as well.
Savatage – Hall of the Mountain King
Shane (guitar): I’ve listened to this record throughout the years obsessively. The simplistic but heavy, enchanting songwriting of Chris and John Olivia is always in the back of my mind when writing for Nixil. ‘Strange Wings’ and ‘Hall of the Mountain King’ would be my standouts on the record. The lyrical meaning on ‘Wings’ I hold close, and the opening salvo on ‘Mountain King’ is one of my favorite riffs of all time.
Neurosis – Times of Grace
Key (vocals): This band flows through my blood and has overtly or subtly influenced the music I’ve been writing for over 20 years and this is no exception. It’s not often a conscious decision, but in every rhythm and the intentional space between exists the ongoing influence of Neurosis’ music on me.
Aurora (bass): The discovery of Scott Kelly’s abuse was absolutely gutting; it was the first time in as long as I can remember when I did not listen to at least one Neurosis song every day. I still struggle with it because that voice is so intertwined in the sound, though I will say that what I’ve read in response from the remaining members of Neurosis has allowed me to reconnect somewhat; the brilliant work of these individuals can not be destroyed by the unforgivable, despicable behavior of one man. Dave Edwardson is one of my biggest influences in writing for/playing bass; I love the spaciousness, the subtle nuances in tone and pattern, the unrelenting thickness and heaviness of his sound. Times of Grace was the first Neurosis album that really deeply spoke to me; it was on unending rotation when I first started seriously playing bass nearly 20 years ago, and it’s still the album I go to when I want to get in the right headspace for writing.