Review: Nephylim – Severance of Serenity

It’s time for a very promising Dutch band called Nephylim. Guitarist/backing vocalist Kevin van Geffen and guitarist Rens van de Ven started Nephylim in 2015. At that time the line-up was completed by drummer Martijn Paauwe and vocalist Lisa van Dijk. With this line-up Nephylim released their debut EP, titled Torn. A while later they parted ways.

In 2018, Nephylim reformed with a few changes in its line-up. Kevin, Martijn and Rens were still part of Nephylim, while Rens was now playing the bass guitar instead of the guitar. Guitarist Ralph Lentink and vocalist Cézary van der Veen completed the new Nephylim line-up. Sadly that wasn’t for long due to the passing of Cézary in a tragic accident.

Due to these tragic events Nephylim’s debut full-length album, titled Severance of Serenity, was recorded as a quartet with Kevin taking care of the lead vocals. Some of Cézary’s vocals were already recorded though and because of that he can also be heard on Severance of Serenity, as a backing vocalist.

On January the 18th Severance of Serenity was released, while a new Nephylim member, vocalist Tijn Bosters, had joined in the meantime. He can’t be heard on the album though. However, based on my experience of seeing him perform live with Depths of Kronos earlier, of which you can read my live review here, my guess is that he’s going to perform the songs of Severance of Serenity in a great way.

A few others that I haven’t mentioned so far can also be heard on Severance of Serenity, being Mors Principium Est’s Andy Gillion with a guest solo in album closer Remembrance as well as some violins by Sabrina van Geffen and some virtual orchestration by Jon Phipps.

With Severance of Serenity Nephylim brings you on a very nice journey filled with heaviness, melody and a lot of atmosphere. Close your eyes and you’ll probably only open them after 53 minutes to find that play button again. With the atmospheric album intro Reminescence, slowly but intensely building, Nephylim drags you into Severance of Serenity. Soon we’ll already hear the very nice contribution of those violins and orchestration as well as it getting heavier and heavier.

This leads to heaviness of Forsaken, in which we’ll firstly hear Kevin’s very deep, intense grunts that you can almost feel. Here we also hear that Nephylim is very good at combining that heaviness with melody while also maintaining a very atmospheric vibe. That heaviness is mainly coming from those aforementioned grunts as well as the combination of the very heavy sounding drums and bass, many times joined by tight guitar riffs, while the melody in Nephylim’s music is also mainly coming from those guitars. On top of that Nephylim knows where to put some tempo changes in their music, with a lot of those included on Severance of Serenity, all very well timed. Take Fractured Existence for example, in which we’ll also hear some a bit higher growls in the beginning, just as in Dust Veiled Sky.

There are also some calmer, even more atmospheric parts to be heard, such as in The Bitter Inheritance, album closer Remembrance and Reassurance, the instrumental track before The Bitter Inheritance, including an acoustic guitar, orchestration and a violin, building up to eventually being quite epic. That acoustic guitar can also be heard on a few other moments on Severance of Serenity, such as in Forsaken, Vanquish the Sepsis and Fractured Existence.

I also especially want to mention Martijn’s drums. Those have a very deep sound and there surely are a few moments that his drums are pummeling very heavily. The reason I want to mention his drums especially though is because of the many extra rhythms he puts into his drumming, creating a lot of different nice patterns and giving you a lot to discover.

Nephylim shows a lot of energy on Severance of Serenity while maintaining a lot of atmospheric vibes at the same time. They perfectly know how to drag you into their album and to keep you there throughout the entire ride. The only point of criticism here might be the transitions between the different tracks that probably could be a bit more fluently. However, this probably isn’t going to distract you that much, because of the fact all of the tracks being very strong on their own. Due to that trying to choose a personal favorite is quite a tough job. I couldn’t narrow it down to one, two or even three, but Fractured Existence, Dust Veiled Sky, Eye of the Storm and Remembrance are standing out the most to me, but the others are following very closely.

It may be clear, Nephylim made a very strong full-length debut with Severance of Serenity and because of that I would highly recommend you to check it out. The physical CD also includes a tribute to Cézary van der Veen (RIP).

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