Saturday, June 13, 2015

Nevoa: "The Absence of Void"

Portugal is starting to really pump out the metal. This album is surprising due to it's clean production.The guitar tones are very crisp and the mix leaves room to actually hear the bass , which is rare for black metal. One thing that is impressive with these guys is even when they fly into the blast beats every thing is still clear and musically and it gets doesn't sounds like a bunch of pots and pans are falling out of a closet. They are atmospheric without losing all form and function. They touch on a chilling drone that doesn't just become white noise and numb you out. Due to the Scandinavian roots of black metal bands they tend to get referred to as having a coldness, despite the geographical difference there is a similar starkness to the riffs that are more emotionally cold than musical translation of the physical nature of the cold lifestyle that haunts other black metal. "Wind and Branches" has more dynamic dips than the opener which is more static and rigid.I think the initial sound of their crisp guitar work really grabs your ear making you think there is more to the song than there actually is.Though this is not to dismiss the melody buried in the swirling din.

 "Alma" is the first song to drop the distortion on let an acoustic guitar ring out.A female vocal sings over this. Up until this point I would say the band obscures their influences, but this section reminds me of something Agalloch would do.This is more of an interlude than a song as it doesn't build from what it is. They do get a lot nastier when they come back in on "Below the Celestial Abyss"it drops down in a more sonic almost post-rock cloud of melancholy.At eleven minutes it's the first song they really get indulgent in musically excesses, but it pays off and they storm back into things in a more thoughtful way that most who seem to only know one way to attack a blast beat. The put to use most of the fourteen plus minutes of the title, they have a knack for gloomy riffs that have a angular melodic quality to them. The only disappointing thing is how they go into the blast beat toward the end like every other band, then they redeem themselves by slowing it down under the tremolo picking.

This might be one of the best black metal album that you came close to not hearing if you had not clicked on this review. I have no problem rounding this up to a 9.5, as it encompasses most of the elements I want from black metal of this ilk. Fans of Burzum, Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room will all find something that will resonate with them here.

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