Underground Sounds: NYIÞ/Old Burial Temple – Caput Mortem

Label: Signal Rex
Band: NYIÞ/Old Burial Temple
Origin: Iceland/Australia

Of all the Icelandic bands that work the dark arts, NYIÞ is probably the most elusive and mysterious. Sure, the members are traceable through the not so thick ranks of Icelandic artists, but their sound is a ritualistic, dark ambient music filled with gloom and foreboding. This split will be their fourth release in 7 years.

Australian formation Old Burial Temple is a one man project from the prolific musician, named ‘Old’. He’s also active in Drohtnung and Snorri, but various other projects are listed under his name too.

Eerie drones welcome the listener to NYIÞ. A sparkling sound falling through, creating a bright sound in the middle of the gloomy darkness of an eternal night. The music features strings and minimal effects from various instruments on the first track by the Icelanders, titled ‘Rót’. Harrowing screams emerge from far away in the deep void of behind minimal guitar play and the sound of the wind. ‘Iða’ follows, with somber and sonorous tones, with ragged flares of string instruments floating around, which generates the experience of an empty chapel or tomb. Ever crack or sound becomes a frightening disturbance, any shift a landslide. That is the power of minimalism and ritual music.

Old Burial Temple takes us below ground on ‘Movement XIII’, with frightening murmurings and samples, merging into a deep and disturbing drone. Clanging is audible in the distance, as an uncanny chanting picks up through the hazy fogs. The drums kick-off, but dwindle down instantly. The rhythm is slow, ominous, and feels less like a progression, but more like a prelude to doom. The intense banging and rattle work to unnerve with a continuous procession of harrowing sounds. Exceptionally effective, this side of the split.

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