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'Negative Black' is the newest release of Germany's premier Doom/Sludge-weirdos BLACK SHAPE OF NEXUS (or just B.SON, for those who are fans of herbivore bovines). Following their well-acclaimed 2007 debut and their experimental drone album 'Microbarome Meetings', Mannheim's finest present a slab of punishing sludge that will make your ears melt. The first track 'Illinois' serves as a long intro, based on a growling bass line and sparse drumming, cleaning your ears with tons of screeching feedback and samples before the wheel of destruction starts to roll with '400H'. A simple, grooving riff that immediately sticks to your head paves the way for the things to come: The deep, nastily distorted bass and guitar riffs sway along like a wrecking ball, heavy enough to flatten everything in its path.

The slowly stomping drums do their best to keep this sonic frenzy in line, while the aggressively growled and screamed vocals poke through the wall of sound like shrapnels of a constant explosion which seems to fuel this vehicle of destruction that BLACK SHAPE OF NEXUS is. The 19-minutes-long beast '10000 °' starts almost relaxed with some tribal drumming and samples, before evolving into a slow-grinding doom monster. Eventually harmonized guitar parts cautiously bring little rays of light into the darkness, before vocals and noisy waves of synthesizers push the song even further towards the edge of madness.

While the main focus lies on slowly creeping, droning riffs, BLACK SHAPE OF NEXUS don't make the fault to only rely on sloth-like tempos, instead, incorporating catchy sludge riffs into their songs like in the great '14d' as well as even melodic psychedelia in the eerily beautiful 'RMS'. The 22 minutes of the title track 'Neg. Black' closes this very intense record after 80 (!) minutes. Recorded live by B.SON's very own Ralf Bernhardt, the album has a raw and untamed sound and recaptures the aggressiveness and the pure insanity of the band’s live performances to great effect. Don’t listen to this before you go to sleep, your dreams will surely turn into nightmares after this.

(Steve Albino)