Nazxul performing at the Damnation Festival, Leeds, October 2009
|Origin||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
Nazxul are an Australian black metal band which formed in 1993. They have issued two studio albums, Totem (March 1995) and Iconoclast (July 2009). Currently the third studio album titled "Sumus Inferno" is in the works with the lineup being Adrian Henderson on guitar, Lachlan Mitchell on keyboards and guitar, John McLaughlin on drums and Dalibor Backovic on vocals and bass guitar.
Early years and Totem (1993–1997)
Nazxul were formed in 1993 by guitarist Adrian Henderson, keyboards player-guitarist Lachlan Mitchell, former Mortal Sin and Slaughter Lord drummer Steve Hughes and Dalibor Backovic on vocals and bass guitar. Originally envisioned as a mysterious studio-bound project, the group only appeared in publicity photos as shadowy figures or draped facelessly in cloaks.
In 1994 a self-titled demo album appeared through Vampire Records. According to Voltage Media's reporter it was "met with a mixture of astonishment and ultimate praise from critics, allegiance and enthusiasm by extreme music disciples, and revulsion by the ignorant and myopic." Soon after guitarist Greg Morelli, from Sydney thrash band Grungeon, joined the fold.
Nazxul debut studio album, Totem, was released in March 1995. Steve Hoeltzel of Chronicles of Chaos observed that "The best stuff on this CD is just pulverizing. The problem is, it's basically all contained in one or two songs." He praised "Distance Begins" for its "mid-paced riffs mixed with frightening blasts of amazing speed and a cool synthesized interlude" and "Amidst the Flames", which is an "otherworldly blur" but felt "the rest of this Australian black metal band's debut much less enjoyable."
"Black Seed" (1998-2007) and touring
Further material was written, during which time Backovic departed and two new members joined, singer Morte from an avant-garde black metal group called Bestianity and guitarist Rev. Kriss Hades from the notorious Sydney death metal band Sadistik Exekution who were experiencing one of their well-known self-imposed dormant periods. This line-up produced the EP "Black Seed" in 1998 and late in the year played live for the first time at a show in Sydney, with Henderson moving to bass guitar.
Hughes left the group after this to pursue a career in stand-up comedy and soon left Australia to live in the UK. His replacement was Peter Kostic from Sydney rock band Front End Loader. Almost immediately, Nazxul was booked to support Finnish extreme metal group Impaled Nazarene on part of an Australian tour. In a remarkable turn of events, Kostic's other band was then approached to tour with British rock group Skunk Anansie over the same period but declined due to the drummer's commitment to Nazxul; the Skunk Anansie tour was in turn cancelled when the group suddenly split up. Morte was fired after this tour and Backovic returned for Nazxul's appearance at the Metal for the Brain festival. In the meantime, "Black Seed" was re-released with several live tracks recorded during the tour added to the track listing. The cover was slightly amended with the iconography rendered in gold instead of green.
After playing a final show for the year all activity from Nazxul then appeared to cease abruptly. Kostic joined Regurgitator in 2000 and the Hard Ons in 2001. Hades recorded two more albums with Sadistik Exekution before embarking on a solo career. Mitchell continued his work as a professional sound engineer / producer and in late 2001 formed a rock band Brace with several former members of Canberra group Henry's Anger. Backovic left Nazxul in 2000 to pursue a career in the film industry as a screenplay writer and director. In 2002, Sydney black metal label Decius released a limited-edition live album (titled simply Live) on 12" vinyl. The recording was of the group's 1999 Metal for the Brain performance. A year later, the Nazxul track "Apostasies Legions Arise, Xul!" appeared on a compilation release from Hiberica Records along with tracks from American band Krieg, Necroplasma from Sweden and Goat Semen from Peru.
The band was not at an end however. Four tracks of dark ambience, recorded by Henderson, Mitchell and Morelli, were released on a split EP with Melek Tha in 2004. The same year, Nazxul regrouped with a new line-up that included Henderson, Morelli and Mitchell plus two former members of Wollongong black metal band Secretain, Daniel Lomas (vocals) and Luke Mills (guitar), and drummer Tim Yatras from another Wollongong band called Battalion. Originally booked to tour with Dimmu Borgir, the Norwegian band cancelled its visit but several months later Nazxul undertook a tour with Adelaide based gothic metal band Virgin Black instead. Nazxul then became dormant for some time since. Mills continued to play in various black metal bands and Yatras was the drummer with Lord between 2005 and May 2009.
"Iconoclast" (2008-present) and touring
In 2008 Nazxul reformed and were listed as the national support to the Australian leg of Mayhem's tour; this tour was cancelled however. The band completed work on the long-awaited Iconoclast album, first mooted in 1998, during the year. Greg Morelli died in a motorcycle accident on 20 November 2008 in North Strathfield. He had just completed his guitar parts for the album, before his death. Nazxul asked those who listen to "Oath (Tides Resurrection)" to think of Morelli: it is performed in his honour. Brendan Amos of Metal Obsession felt this track "provides the highlight of the album."
Iconoclast was released in July 2009 by German label Eisenwald Records. Guitarist Petar Peric from Infernal Method replaced the late Morelli, and drummer John McLaughlin replaced Tim Yatras. Phil Freeman of AllMusic described it: "there are enough good songs ('Symbol of Night and Winter [Ancient Lords]', 'Set in Array', 'Iconoclast') to make Iconoclast a worthy addition to black metal as a genre." International touring went ahead at the end of 2009 with shows in England, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Russia.
In 2015, the band regrouped to begin work on a new album titled "Sumus Inferno".
- Studio albums
- Live albums
- Live (2002)
- Nazxul (1994)
- Black Seed (1998)
- Quickener of the Dead (2010)
- Split albums
- 4 Spears in God's Ribs (2003)
- Develish Purification (2004)—with Melek-Tha
- Encyclopaedia Metallum - Nazxul
- "Lifelines: Nazxul guitarist Greg Morelli dies in accident". The Music. In Music & Media. Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- "Nazxul". Voltage Media. Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- Hoeltzel, Steve (17 July 1996). "Nazxul – Totem Review". Chronicles of Chaos. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- "The Hard-Ons". Australian Music Online. Archived from the original on 22 November 2005. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- Amos, Brendan (27 August 2009). "Nazxul – Iconoclast". Metal Obsession. Mitch Booth, Brendan Amos, Scot Boelsen, Anwar Rizk. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- Freeman, Phil. "Iconoclast – Nazxul". AllMusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
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