What have we here? Appropriately entitled NULL, which translates to ZERO in English, Norway’s Vestindien have conjured a dark and brooding black metal record with a truly unique sound and feel to it. Not that I wish to spoil reading the rest of the review for you, but this is unarguably an early candidate for one of the best and most memorable albums of 2021. There, I have said it!
There is an eerie and understated beauty to the unpolished affair due to its inherent melancholy and the thick atmosphere that emanates from its evocative and unsettling soundscapes. The cursed opus is raw yet vital-sounding, and apart from being vibrant and organic it is also deftly executed. In addition, the way in which the outfit’s hardcore/punk rock influences are subtly woven into the textures of the compositions is a stroke of genius, and the keyboards add flavor and depth to the pieces without ever being intrusive. NULL transcends and defies the barriers and conventions of traditional black metal and offers numerous delightfully unexpected twists and turns; possessing those clever song arrangements obviously entails that it never turns into a linear, one-dimensional, or mundane listening experience.
Musically and lyrically, the wicked thing is overflowing with emotional substance and at roughly thirty minutes long it neither outstays its welcome nor loses even a shred of its momentum. NULL is not merely a rewarding listen but rather a deeply passionate and intense record that simply keeps on giving the more one listens to it. Is it downright vile and relentlessly bleak? Yes, most definitely, but it is also utterly captivating and spirited stuff, and believe me when I say that you need this underground gem in your collection. Fans of Taake’s more experimental tunes and to a certain extent, Slegest cannot afford to miss or overlook this soul-crushing work of brilliance.