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Sometimes digging into the world’s underground, I find gems like this, NIPHREDIL, an ecuadorian black/doom metal project, created by only one person.
Niphredil [EP] (2014), is a masterpiece of atmosphere, black melancholy, doom and beauty. 4 strong tracks, with 23 minutes, long enough to stand on their own, NIPHREDIL has created a musical journey that is best experienced as a whole. This is music driven by dark feelings and thus creates immense power and resonates with the listener. Even after I have finished listening to this extreme metal piece of art, I find myself thinking about it, how great it is and how possible it could be created for only one person, José Miguel Santelices.

I have always found that music’s worth cannot be determined by its technicality. The simplest of riffs or melodies can have the greatest impact on one’s heart, because the main purpose of the music is to get into your mind and change it!.

The Despair, the darkness, the brutality, takes you to a state where the extreme of music fill your mind and calm you down, this is the case here with Niphredil EP.

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The keyboards, the blackened vocals and guitar leads beautifully float over simple, yet crushing atomic rhythms. The guitars, bass and drums all work together perfectly and I really couldn’t complain about any of them…maybe a little bit for the production and mastering because it could be done better to capture all the greatness of this project.

The sound is massive and when I turn the volume up to that point of it being “right”, no too high no too low, the music flows right through and I can feel the essence of the blackened doom genre. The band, although obviously has not been in the midst of the Ecuadorian metal scene (because it is a personal project), but they know what they are doing and it has captured and retained it, I’m talking about the evil dark/doom of black metal.

After the Intro, I – Beneath the Earth, enter that mysterious underworld with melodic riffs, and the evil wandering through the ambient, periods of calm are deceptive, serve to apprehend you in the chaotic sound of black metal. The batteries doing a great job as well as the lapses where the keyboard is inserted.

I would like to know what is the story that tells II – Myriads of Stars, because the scream of the voice doesn’t allow me to find up what the lyrics are saying, and the title of this track makes my mind fly very far. No small amount of this is due to the fact that this isn’t a purely black doom metal and release; as this is a style that can become a bit too one-dimensional quite quickly, even when done well, NIPHREDIL add in shoegaze and ambient elements to enrich their songs and keep the listener’s interest.

With Niphredil, José Miguel Santelices, lets you settle deep into the gloom. This work, no matter that it is practically only two songs (not counting intro-outro), subtly leads you to feel comfortable in the darkness of extreme metal.

It may sound like effusive, but there is something special about this album that speaks to me, convincing me that the black sounds of the doom have the main objective of changing minds about the extreme of the music in this genre.

To shut this dawn, I would say that Niphredil [EP], really is quite a comprehensive album, and one that’s impressed me with its scope and quality and increase the personal pride of seeing artists and musicians from my native country who are academically prepared to expose their creativity in a more professional way. José Miguel Santelices graduated from the music school of the San Francisco University of Quito, as a production musical and sound engineering.

This is it!….I’ll come back when I think I have to!

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Niphredil [EP]

1.- Intro 02:29
2.- I – Beneath the Earth 09:08
3.- II – Myriads of Stars 09:55
4.- Outro 01:23

Finished and presented on 12/13/2014
Finally released through Bandcamp on March 17, 2017

José Miguel Santelices: Lead guitars, vocals & piano
Lucas Serrano: Guitars
Francisco Enríquez: Guitars & keyboards
Alex Guerrero: Bass
Pablo Taco: Drums
Engineered by Francisco Vivanco in USFQ College of Music
Mixing & Mastering by Pablo Taco
Recording assistants: Ricardo Morejón, Tinku Perugachi & Ander Vallejo
Art & Design by Francisco Morales
Photography by Ismael Merizalde
Intro & Outro by Emilio Cordero
Composed and produced by José Miguel Santelices


Reviewed by German G Calle, a fan of
extreme music, who, without limiting
himself to a single genre, enjoys the
sounds of metal and its derivations.
From New York, he directs Ciudad Zero,
a site created for the purpose of spreading
underground music from around the world,
with an emphasis on South America