New Music

Diving Into the Abyss: a track-by-track exploration of NIXIL’s “From the Wound Spilled Forth Fire”

5 mins read
NIXIL by Shane K Gardner
NIXIL by Shane K Gardner

Released today, NIXIL’s sophomore album, “From the Wound Spilled Forth Fire,” promises to be a boundary-pushing venture into the black metal bracket. Combining a spectrum of influences—from the esoteric practices of chaos magick and gnosticism to the abrasive tones of second wave black metal and the expansive soundscapes of post-metal—this Baltimore-based band offers a complex yet cohesive narrative with their new release.

This isn’t just another black metal record aiming to recapture the old glory of the genre; it’s a statement of intent. NIXIL themselves frame the album as “the manifestation of will of five individuals in collaboration, clawing toward catharsis and escape from the oppressive grasp of this rotting society.” Yes, this is an album imbued with a sense of mission, one that grapples with themes of ego-death, self-empowerment, and a longing for spiritual and societal liberation.

Having carved a niche for themselves through consistent live shows, sharing stages with acts like Hulder, Evoken, and Yatra, and making a notable appearance at Maryland Deathfest 2022, NIXIL has been building up to this moment. Their live experience has not only honed their craft but also reinforced the band’s commitment to a collective creative vision.

For NIXIL, the recording process itself is a sacred act that needs to preserve the band’s live, visceral energy.

“We are a live band through and through and it makes the most sense for us to record that way,” they share, emphasizing the intent to capture the totality of their collective energy and will.

Collaborating again with J. Robbins at Magpie Cage Recording Studio for the recording and James Plotkin for the mastering, the band also gives a nod to their friend Josh Clark at Dark Hollow Studios, whose initial demo work helped pave their way to signing with Prosthetic Records.

The meticulous production process serves as more than just a technical endeavor—it’s an extension of the album’s underlying themes.

“Throughout the entire album, there are a lot of little subtle nods to themes and ideas that were inspiring us at the time,” they add, hinting at layers of depth in rhythmic patterns and lyrical phrasing that invite closer scrutiny.

Therefore, listening to “From the Wound Spilled Forth Fire” is not merely a passive experience but an invitation to dig deeper, both sonically and thematically.

So, prepare to delve deep into this audacious and intricate album. With the band themselves guiding us through each track, this is your roadmap to an abyssal journey that explores the microcosmic and macrocosmic dimensions of human existence.

Collapsing the Poles

We actually started working on this song shortly after recording All Knots Untied, but it didn’t come together fully until Alden joined the band a few months later. It was initially written to themes of nausea and disorientation – a lot of the time when writing, someone will come up with a sensation or an image, usually described by some sort of bizarre metaphor (‘creeping swamp witch’ and ‘swirling shitty toilet’ are two particularly notorious ones), and then we pick up our instruments and try to make that manifest in sound.

It makes the writing process interesting because we all have a different relationship to what particular emotions sound like so we end up taking some weird trips on things that can either end up where the original inspiration intended or somewhere totally different – like a lot of bands, we keep a huge white board in our practice space with notes of things we’re working on and going back to read the descriptions we have of old riffs can be hilarious and also evocative of the initial process.

All that being said, this track came together pretty quickly and smoothly; the round of three vocals at the end opened up possibilities of more group backing vocals throughout the rest of the album which has been really fun to do.

In Thrall

If ever we had an anthem to our ideology, it would be this one. We maintain that we are an apolitical band because antifascism is not so fragile as a political stance; it is an unwavering, unquestionable statement of self and community defense against an insidious, oppressive system that we eschew at all costs. Politics are irrelevant. Our lives are not up for a vote, and there is absolutely no room for debate about that.

This song is a curse upon anyone who would impede upon our autonomy, and a call to arms to like-minded folks to stand with us. Alden struggled with the writing of this song because it’s so different than what we usually do, much more immediate and sonically “at the throat;” he struggled with how to add to it for a long time until it finally sunk in for him about 2 weeks prior to recording, and now it’s one of his favorites on the album.

A Door Never Closed

Most of our songs come together in a way that ends up directly reflecting what was going on for any one of us at the time they were written, either intentionally or coincidentally (is there really such a thing as coincidence?). It’s always wild to notice when we look back on themes and sounds; what needs to come out always finds a way to come out. ‘Door’ is an incredibly emotional song that was borne out of a series of major traumas for C.

It took them a long time to complete the lyrics, and the first time we heard their words was at practice the day a very close friend of Aurora’s died unexpectedly; it felt like a profound synchronicity that the lyrics were so immediately relatable to the circumstances around their passing. Shane was listening to Emperor a lot while working on this song.

From the Wound Spilled Forth Fire

This was the first song that Alden brought to us on his own; it took time to synthesize because we historically created everything together rather than working from one person’s loosely established skeleton, so it required some balancing of riff styles and timing. It definitely has more undertones of death metal, which is something we are all influenced by to varying degrees but which has never been our primary sound so it was fun to explore; it ended up being one of the few songs we’ve ever written which has been progressively linear without parts that we return to.

The album title encompasses the general intent of all the songs on the album (with the exception of In Thrall) and was chosen before it was also given to this song but as the songwriting came together, it made sense for this track to carry the album’s name. The song itself is about seeing trials and traumatic experiences as points for growth and empowerment, and touches vaguely upon the true intentions of Wrathful practice in the Left Hand Path.

Abyss Unto Abyss


Many of C’s lyrics are written in an altered state akin to channeling; the lyrics to this song were written in a state of intense and unremitting insomnia. Words were written down in the middle of a sleepless night after a number of other sleepless nights; C was surprised to find them the next day, they were so out of it from lack of sleep that they didn’t remember writing them down. To a degree, the lyrics are about exactly that – altered states of consciousness – and their function in exploring and expanding upon spirituality.

The Way is the Grave

This song came together very quickly over 3-ish practices; it was one of those rare and special times where everything kept lining up, the energy just fit and moved really smoothly. It’s also a little departure from our usual thing but feels pretty significant to us, both sonically and thematically.

Recording the opening bit was another example of weird synchronicity; we had a general idea of what we wanted to do and were in the studio with J. Robbins working on recording a different thing when J. showed us this beautiful Aztec death whistle that he had out on his console…and then we were recording a bit of a ritual with J. playing his whistle, Alden playing a kangling that C made, and the rest of us wailing and playing various noise makers.

It’s essentially a calling in of the attendant blessed dead to watch over the subject in their transition to the other side; the three stomps is a traditional greeting, and then the dropping of three coins at the end is a traditional thanks and payment for their attention/energy. The song itself is an exploration of the mysteries housed in the concepts of change/death and is a sacrificial hymn to the embodied spirit of death in this world.

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