Nahemah – The Second Philosophy – 3.5/5
An album that showed promise, this can be very loose described as ‘Progressive Death Metal’ but to me feels more like what a genuine post-metal would sound like if the so commonly found doom influences were cut back. Atmospheric, aggressive and simplistic tracks meandering their beautiful course, but what could have felt emotionally powerful instead all too often comes off a little superficial; there’s nothing inherently wrong with the music itself, the composition itself feels relatively original in its execution, but being almost identically formed on each track, the result fails to feel emotionally personal, instead coming across all too detached from those performing it, apathetic to the atmosphere they’re trying to convey, leaving us with little more than a tired cliché.
I’ll be the first to admit how negative this all sounds but it isn’t through a lack of trying on their part, the characteristic style of riffs have been substituted for an altogether more simplistic performance that relies heavily on tremolo riffs and psychedelic effects which at times remains startlingly effective, the same few tracks managing to recapture my attention every time they arrive demonstrating them at their best. The main issue with their playing style, the attention focussed entirely on the atmosphere, is the lack of additional hooks and riffs which sadly results in a lack of any element drawing focal point within the music. The bass will only make enough of a mark to flesh out the tone and the drumming is overshadowed by the rest of the instrumentation, left with only the most basic of the beats.
There is the occasional flourish of something new, organs rammed into a composition or the occasionally jazzy saxophone line but it feels a little superficial, adding a nonetheless welcome touch of variety to what can all too readily become a tiring affair, overly sparse and simplistic without the impact. The vocals that finish this line-up sadly do little to alleviate this issue either, whilst technically proficient are incapable of presenting an emotion. Both with a hoarse barking growl and a smooth clean voice, neither side to his vocal acrobatics display anything more than a disconnected apathy to the music, emerging as though entirely separate to the entity slowly shifting behind him.
As their second full-length, sitting comfortably between their black metal debut and their full blown post-rock sequel, this remains their best attempt at combining one side with the other, and sadly it still doesn’t quite make it. Perhaps it’s the sense of Post-Rock pretentiousness that bugs me here; the 40 seconds of ironic nothingness opening ‘nothing,’ or the overt use of tremolo often feeling without point other than to yell ‘were different,’ despite sounding like a Porcupine Tree track that was cut for being too repetitive. Fans of post-rock and Opeth have valid reason to be salivating at the thought of this release and I’m sure many may find solace in this slower and more delicate take on the style, all the while performed with an odd unique twist that prevents them feeling like simple clones, but if – like myself – you have already grown weary of the original, then there wont be enough here to keep you occupied for long.
Highlights: Like a Butterfly in a Storm, Subterranean Airports, Phoenix
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