“Kingdom of Nothingness”

By Dr. Abner Mality

There’s a bleak and miserable wind blowing from the Middle East and its name is Zifir. I know Turkey has a sizable metal scene but a black metal band as grim yet thoughtful as Zifir is still a novelty.  I’m not surprised by the professional sound of the band, but the way they explore different facets of the black metal legacy is something unexpected.

“Kingdom of Nothingness” has a very “gray” and murky sound to it that becomes more and more intense as the album takes its Stygian path. After the gloomy intro “Befog”, “The Relief In Disbelief” shows we have a fast and powerful black metal band with a suitably grim sound. The troll-like vocals are especially creepy. If there is any Middle Eastern influence in the music, it’s too subtle for me to detect. “Mina” ups the ante with a raging blast of icy fury. The album is now cooking pretty good. “769” is slower and more complex, as dense as any Scandinavian black metal. “A State of Chaos” is primitive and ogre-ish, right out of the Darkthrone playbook, while the odd “Abet” actually injects Gregorian monk chants and spoken word into its framework.

Unfortunately, the album’s last third delves into the murk of depressive black metal and starts to fall under its own weight. The songs become more dissonant and suicidal and I start to lose interest. The truth is, the album is too long by about 3 tracks. If “Abet” or maybe the CD bonus track “Evoke” were the last songs, the album would be a masterstroke. Instead, it kind of runs out of gas in the end.

Nevertheless, Zifir is a very serious black metal band, especially given their country of origin, and “Kingdom of Nothingness” is worth a shot for adventurous listeners.