Not far on the heels of their debut as Not My God comes Tim Sköld and Nero Bellum’s sophomore offering; as established artists in their own right, now having one album under their collective belt gives one high hopes for the further cultivation of new stylings in unexplored musical territory. In many ways, Simulacra is a somewhat similar offering to the self-titled debut, with Bellum’s bouncy and chaotic electronic backing throbs beneath Sköld’s signature overdriven drawl.
However, despite a broader sonic similarity and continuity of composition, there is a perceivable shift between Not My God and Simulacra, with the latter overall offering a higher energy with more danceable beats and electronic aggression, rather than the more atmospheric, if not drawn out offerings from the debut. In a welcome change of pace from the first album, “Abyssus” and “Mirage Mirage” blast up to a Death Grips level of sub-bass and Chrysalide-like menace, whereas numbers like “The Underneath” and “21 Grams” break into more stylized and club-friendly territory. Throughout the album, Sköld delivers a more varied and layered vocal performance – though much of the previous record leveraged solo vocal takes, Simulacra uses multitracked vocals almost by default. This adds an appreciable richness to the album, which was, at times, lacking given the casual croon he so often employs.
Where Simulacra most conspicuously cleaves to the conventions of the self-titled record is in numbers like “Rebis” and “Salt,” the atmosphere therein more of plodding creepiness, with Sköld’s lilt occasionally veering into tonally uncomfortable chromaticism. “We Don’t Leave Our Dead Behind” is arguably a lackluster finish after other much more bombastic numbers, but perhaps serves the purpose of ending the album on a more somber note; one just wonders whether or not that was the ideal note to end an otherwise engaging album on. Regardless, Simulacra is a truly enjoyable evolution for the binary act. One hopes for yet further breaking of ground in the pair’s future efforts.
Not My God
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Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
Colin Andrew MacDougall (VexationsandtheVile)