Several years have had to pass before XERIÓN finally managed to release their debut album with a helping hand from a German label Schwarzdorn Production. Prior to this they proved to be a very active group on the underground scene having produced numerous demos and split CDs. Originating from the Spanish province of Galicia the band have been creating music and lyrics deeply rooted in ancient Celtic culture and traditions of this region. In order to make their art more authentic and to emphasize their identity XERIÓN have also been writing the texts for their compositions in Galician language and this concept has neither been changed as regards “Nocturnal Misantropía”.
I have to admit, that such bands, which have this kind of approach towards what they are doing (strictly speaking I am thinking about artists, whose works are characterized by definite concepts and for whom the lyrical plane is as significant as the music itself) gain instantaneously additional points in my ranking. If only the music and album layout equal the text concept I already have a personal candidate for one of favourite albums.
How do the things look as far as XERIÓN’s first full-length effort is concerned? First and foremost it should be pointed out, that labelling this music as Folk Black Metal (as certain sources say) is somewhat far-fetched as the load of Folk elements is scarcely palpable. Everything starts very promisingly, though – in the introduction to “Akelarre” we hear some kind of wood-wind instrument playing a very catchy melody, which afterwards is taken up by guitars creating together with the rhythm section a furious Black Metal storm. And what a composition this is! The only reproach I have is the length of this song. I do not actually get what the reason was to make it so short, only two minutes and some seconds. Apart from “Akelarre” you can find Folk in “No Pazo Derruido Da Existencia” (superb guitar and synth passage somewhere in the middle of this track) and the closing tune “No Val Do Silencio” where Folk Black spirit is being kept all way long. Why am I nagging about this Folk so much? The reason for that is quite simple – if only XERIÓN incorporate it in their music, it becomes immediately more interesting and I think it is a pity, that they do not do it more frequently.
Of course the above-stated opinion does not absolutely mean, that the rest of the album is not worth any attention. The typically Black Metal tracks like for instance the title song “Nocturnal Misantropía” or “Na Traza Esotérica Do Ar Invisible” are well-composed and quite extensive works played mainly in fast tempo. Some synth passages enrich the quality of music here and the cooperation between guitars and keys in the second part of the latter song is simply awesome.
If you listen to this album you will without a doubt pay attention to the third track “Ate A Morte…” where the only sounds you can hear are being generated by a bell (it sounds at least like this, though it could be faked as well). Despite this music asceticism you feel as a matter of fact pretty engaged listening to this record. Moreover, it reminds me – curiously enough – of a scene in a film “Wild Strawberries” by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman where the main character is dreaming, that he is in the centre of a town, which seems to be abandoned when all of the sudden a black carriage appears and a coffin with his own body falls on the street from it. The scene is as depressive and distressing as XERIÓN’s “Ate A Morte…”.
And this way we have reached the end of this review. The final conclusion is, that the Spanish (or should I rather write Galician instead?) band have made a work, which deserves at least some time in your stereo, obviously on condition, that you like Pagan kitchen, where the main course is fiery Black Metal with a delicate Folk sauce poured over it. Even though the chef have grudged me some of this sauce, still I feel relatively pleased and will surely dine here once again in the future.
(Online April 27, 2008)