The Nightmarish Compositions – Review

Arcturus + Dimmu Borgir ? Sounds GOOD. – 98%

Written by SepherZ, on July 13th, 2006

What we have here is probably the most original BM act going around in Israel. Bishop of Hexen’s 2nd album is a great progress from Archives of Enchanted Philosophy. It seems to me the band had matured greatly since writing their debut album. The whole concept behind their music seemed to have changed, from a much darker approach, to a rather theatral one.
Not that The Nightmarish Compositions isn’t dark. It’s dark, alright, and in a way much more brutal than Archives, but it is also much more melodic, and is overall, simply much more.

The music in this album has alot of layers, and it takes a lot more than one spinning to get the full depth of the music Bishop of Hexen are creating here.
The production of this album is endlessly better than the one in Archives, though that’s very easy to tell, as the production over there simply sucked. Drums have a very major role in this album compared to Archives, with some songs (Self Loathing Orchestration, for example) showing impressive drumming abilities. The guitars are much more noticable, and the vocals are much more varied, with alot of theatral-clean-singing (VERY much like La Masquerade Infernale by Arcturus), and great shrieking, not as devilish as in Archives, but just as mean and angry. The keyboard still take a very major role in Bishop of Hexen’s music, but unlike their last album, there are many more instruments that combine their excellent music.
It seems that with the change of a vocalist came the required change in this band’s approach to music.

The riffs in this album are very symphonic, nearly pagan, and almost everything sounds good. It seems to me that Bishop of Hexen found a good balance between melody and brutalness, keyboard and drums, shrieking and singing. This album, in terms of professionlity, sounds as if it was their 10th release, not their 2nd. The band really seems to know what are they doing. Overall, there isn’t really a way to describe their music, as it’s pretty unique, but the best way of putting it is trying to imagine Arcturus mixing with Dimmu Borgir’s days of glory (Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, anyone?), with some distant Bal-Sagoth atmosphere at some times.
It amazes me every time how evil this band manages to sound. The whole symphonic atmosphere this album delivers is about evil, I can imagine nothing but horrors when I hear Bishop of Hexen’s music, and I think that is exactly what they want you to imagine, given the album’s name and the whole approach to music this band members’ stick to.

Overall, and once more, this album is VERY worth listening to if you like black metal, symphony, evilness and theater, because those are the four main things you will get to feel when listening to The Nightmarish Compositions. If you do like those, you will enjoy. Trust me you will. For any previous Bishop of Hexen fan, this album will probably provide one of the better listening experiences in 2006, and also for people who previously didn’t connect to them, this album offers so much more – you might change your mind!

Standout tracks: Eyes Gaze to a Future Foreseen, Self Loathing Orchestration, The Somber Grounds of Truth