Black Bow Records continues to be a great source for sludge and doom bands that I hadn’t come across before, as much of the label’s early 2017 roster are groups that are fairly new. One of their latest finds is Serbia’s Nula, who formed in late 2013 and released a two-track demo in 2015. On February 24th Black Bow will be releasing their newest three-song EP ‘Kenoma’, which finds the band offering an intriguing mix of sludge/doom with some gothic and groove metal influences seeping into the mix. It doesn’t quite sound exactly like what you’d expect from any of those genre tags though, and today we’re excited to exclusively premiere the second song Silazak U Prah so that you can discover Nula’s sound for yourself.
Each of the three songs run for a little over six minutes, which gives Nula plenty of time to spread their sound outwards and allow the grooves to grow alongside the somber atmosphere. Silazak U Prah begins with a slow rumbling groove driven forward by drums that have a methodical, almost ritualistic feel to them at first. As the track opens up further, you’ll find that there’s a lot happening beneath the surface once you have a chance to pay attention to the small details. While the grooves and heavier elements are at the base of Nula’s sound, they layer melodies over top of it that create an entrancing atmosphere and straddle the line between post metal and gothic leaning doom. There are moments that remind me of a number of early 2000s groove metal bands and even some of the nu-metal groups that were decent, but these heavier elements are intertwined so well with the gloomy atmosphere and soaring melodies that just when you think you have these guys figured out they transition into something completely different. In particular, three quarters of the way through the guitar solos and riffing transition towards something that might not sound out of place on a Paradise Lost or Type O Negative record, which is quite appealing.
Another element that distinguishes Nula is the vocal work of Miloš Milošević. When someone throws the sludge or doom tags at a band that brings certain expectations of how the vocals will sound to mind, but these guys take a different approach. Milošević delivers a very expressive performance that starts off near the lower, gruffer end of the spectrum. The abrasive edge of the growls early on reminded me of groove metal and hardcore, with the intensity of the words hitting me right in the chest, but as Silazak U Prah progresses they give way to some softer, cleaner ranges that fit the atmospheric side of the music perfectly. I have to admit that this is a type of vocal style that I’m somewhat picky about and don’t always favor, but Nula pulls it off so convincingly that I’ve found myself drawn back again and again.
Each band on the Black Bow roster has brought me something fairly different, but I think that Nula might be one of their most adventurous. What initially seems like it will be familiar groove metal and sludge opens up significantly with the injection of somber, sweeping melodies and transforms into something that’s harder to pin down. ‘Kenoma’ has a lot to offer within three songs, and it will be exciting to see where this group goes as they further progress and push themselves into entirely new territory. ‘Kenoma’ releases February 24th on Black Bow Records.