When Osmose Productions (not a small player within the scene) offered us the album I - The Serpent at the very end of 2016, the world could make acquaintance with a new Dutch / Italian project, Liber Null. Unfortunately, this project, with members of e.g. Frostmoon Eclipse, faded away for a while, and nothing spectacular did happen anymore.
Enter 2022. The very same trio (here known as Thorns, Ades and Psaalm) started writing and recording new stuff. Step by step, they released new tracks as a teaser for their sophomore full-length. Liber Null signed to Immortal Frost Productions, and the result is called For Whom Is The Night. This second grand release is now available in three different vinyl editions and on compact-disc (including an eight-page booklet with very nice artwork and design; courtesy of WrathDesign and View From The Coffin, in case of interest). It clocks about thirty-nine minutes, carefully divided into six separated yet highly cohesive sections.
Since I do have two kids which are not allowed to use the f-word, I will not either. But WTF is this, as from the very beginning. I know that this band’s debut was a merciless smack on your (hairy) ass, but even after years of relative silence, these guys do surely not had the intention to calm down. As from opener Nocturnal Craft, these sweet boys blast and terrorize the audience. But it’s much more than just an expression of sonic violence.
Liber Null have found the magic spell to combine two things that go well together: an uncompromising aggression at the one hand, and an harmonious execution of melodic elegance at the other hand. In many cases, this combination does not work. Many bands try to be ‘aggressive’, but the fake attitude leads to a pathetic result. Others are melodious in essence, and when ‘exploding’ it sounds simply ridiculous. Liber Null, however, are one of these acts that found the key to unlock the portal behind which lies the secrets of this equilibrium.
To keep it dry and easy, let’s dissect both extremes [PS: For Whom Is The Night goes beyond two possible opposites; it’s these antipodes and everything in between, but I just want to make a point]. The harshness has to do with a couple of things. The main vocals, for example, are of a purest acid-spitting, vitriolic kind. The venomous throat of Lorenzo ‘Psaalm’ breaths sulphur and devouring ashes. Also when bending over towards a rather raspy growl, that berserk severity still crushes. Besides, quite some excerpts are blasting and maniacal in execution. It wouldn’t be such stupid comparison: to juxtapose this band to some of Sweden’s nastiest acts from the Nineties (and later) when focusing on the harshness and speed, combined with a wonderful sense of melodicism. Indeed, that ‘Orthodox’ approach that made us all aroused so many decades ago. It does not mean that this stuff sounds ‘passé’. No, it’s influenced by that era and that scene, but it’s not a cheap copycat-edition.
At the other hand, Liber Null’s atmospheric approach too comes from different angles. You have these sometimes mesmerizing tremolo leads or dual riffs, these hypnotic, well-crafted solos and that pounding yet sweetly-supportive rhythm section. A couple of slower excerpts, more than once in a while, and being carefully immersed in between those eruptional passages, do present an epic approach. Of non-deniable importance too are the few choirlike, or hymnic, chants, and few spoken words, giving the whole a touch of mystery. That goes well with the occult themes, evidently. So do the acoustic intermezzi (the Pagan-laden anthem To Death’s Light, for example, comes with a truly stunning and wonderful semi-acoustic excerpt, by the way, which breaths a certain emotion of archaic pride and heathen conviction).
Overall, For Whom Is The Night has a bombastic sound. I won’t say that this release is an orchestral or symphonic one – for it is not. But it’s the balance of both higher mentioned approaches (and everything in between, of course, because that’s what it is all about) and, especially, the sound-quality, that cause that full-bodied experience. It goes further than a magisterial mix (damn, all separate instruments and vocals sound so sequacious and coherent; all hail the Beastcave!), yet it gets spawned as well by the colossal production, which leaves no room for idleness or negligence. Because of that bombastic and commanding attitude, it is not that crazy to have the Blackened Death Metal scene coming to mind as well. Yet anyhow, For Whom Is The Night dwells in regions of traditional yet intensively-performed Heathen Black Metal from the highest and most haughty kind.