Underground black metal has a notorious penchant for strange obsessions, as seen in the unorthodox title of NOX Formulae’s first single: “Hidden Clan NXN – Pt. A. Eleven Rays Of Sorat, Pt. B. Black Magic Assault.” Unsurprisingly, the band is a complete unknown, hailing from somewhere in Greece and signed to Dark Descent Records, which is testament enough to their potential. Beyond that, there isn’t much to go on — besides the music. (Just a guess, but “NOX” might be referencing the Night Of Pan, which plays an important role in Thelemic mysticism, if you’re into that sort of thing. Or it could be something stranger.)
Fortunately, the music is excellent, drawing influence from disparate goth-inflected, non-traditional black metal acts like Bethlehem, Negative Plane, Atriarch, and the legendary Greek bands that birthed the Hellenic black metal scene in the early ’90s. Like those bands, NOX Formulae uses raw, simplistic bits and pieces to excellent effect: The bass throbs and rumbles like a fevered pulse, pushing the song into delirium and back. Meanwhile, the drums start off on a slow trudge to the gallows, then come alive with a frantic, skittering blast of energy. And a lead guitar cuts morbid, melodic figures through the ramshackle clatter, a plaintive wail lighting the darkness like a flickering blue flame. If all that sounds about as cheery as a crumbling coffin, we’re on the right track. Listen.
NOX Formulae’s The Hidden Paths To Black Ecstasy is out 5/9 via Dark Descent.