Friday, 18 September 2009

Nemesis Inferi - Sins of Eden. 92/100.

There’s a fine line between good and evil when it comes to specific sub-genres of metal. I’ve noticed a lot of hostility levelled towards some sub-genres because they push the boundaries too far in regards to moving away from the traditions of a genre. For example, atmospheric sludge. I’ve previously said in other reviews that there is an adamant section of fans who persistently call for the heads of those who create this “lesser” faction. It, as a genre, seems to be rebellious. It likes to cause an uprising amongst unsettled musicians who’re sick of hearing the same old shit, week in, week out and so, it causes them to rise up against the traditions and form a musical revolutionary band of brothers and sisters that will evolve a genre and make it more modernised, to suit the needs of the potential fan. Of course, these radicals aren’t always welcome and so, they’re treated with hostility and outcries of falseness. Though the same cannot be said for the sub-genre we’re dealing with today - symphonic black metal - we can still draw ourselves back to the original argument that there is a fine line between good and evil in regards to sub-genres trying to push the envelope and evolve a genre in one solitary movement.

Personally, I have never considered myself a fan of symphonic music, though I do like symphonies playing a part in the structures of some bands. In fact, I would say it was pivotal in helping me form a positive opinion of said band. The same can be said of other genres, like folk metal. When it comes to exclusive genres like these, the case is usually that the band doesn’t incorporate enough metal music into their structures and relies too heavily on folk, or symphonic sounds, or which ever genre the band plays within that requires an adjective before the genre title. So, as with folk metal, there needs to be more black metal than shimmering symphonies when it comes to the band in question - which is Italy’s Nemesis Inferi, on this occasion. More so often than not, symphonic bands, of any genre with which it wishes to dabble in, relies almost entirely on the keyboardist to provide the outstanding performance and as such, the band doesn’t move as one, or simultaneously towards its goals as it should do by providing all musicians a suitable role within the structures. A lack of team work seems to drag down the work ethic of some areas and doing so draws attention to these areas in a negative way, impacting tragically upon the overall perception which leans significantly towards an opinion of directionless.

Sometimes, these issues cannot help but become a factor in the music of some bands as one, or more musicians may have more talent than the others. Thankfully, on this occasion, Nemesis Inferi are a band of brothers, leaning on one another for support and directing the music towards a subtle, not overwhelming in the slightest, symphonic sound. Of course, this sound does rely on keyboards to provide a bit of juice to the atmosphere, but it doesn’t rely on the keyboards, at any stage, to completely overhaul the atmosphere and direct it single handily, which shows competent song writing amidst the cleanly produced sound - which is another pivotal element of the song structures, given the expansive nature of symphonic music that requires the inclusion of all elements, in a significant manner, to be deemed as a worthy inclusion into the genres large database. In terms of canonical works, a series which I have been working on for a few days now, this band fits nicely onto the ladder of success. For one, this is another debut, something it has in common with its fellow canonical works. As well as this, Nemesis Inferi appeal to a side of me which hasn’t been touched as of yet. Though some of their fellow bands in this series have used keyboards, they have not had this majestic symphonic feel that Nemesis Inferi have brought to the table. As well as that, though some of the other works could be considered experimental, this is outright.

There is no debate as to whether this is experimental or not, or even whether the band is successful in their experimentations because, evidently, the band have acquired a majestic sound through skilful musicianship and song writing that deserves plaudits for some conceptually brave moves - such as the array of vocal talent on offer. As I’ve only recently looked over the bands history, I was completely unaware that the band have self-released a sophomore effort to follow up from this record, entitled ‘Sins Of Eden’. However, I was shocked to see that, after an eight year break from the releasing material, the band have overhauled, stripped out and completely changed their line-up. None of the original members are present within the band anymore and they no longer have a label with which to release their material. I’ve not heard the sophomore effort, but I am excited to hear it and what it has to offer in contrast to this. Its bound to be drastically different, what with being a new band, essentially. Fortunately for the newest members, there doesn’t seem to be much of a fan base with which to please. This band are ridiculously obscure by the looks of it and I’m struggling to see why, given their lucrative and professional sound that is pleasing to the senses. Songs like ‘The Seventh Eclipse’ truly epitomise this Italian bands finesse and frightfully unexpected class. The production is picture perfect. Smooth, no creases and allows all elements to function fantastically within this perfect environment.

Just take a look at the interweaving guitars, with their clean approach, that are shrouded behind a surreal mist from the stunning keyboards that cause reflection and a feeling on a par with a higher state of consciousness. The vocals, as touched upon before, were the most surprising aspect of this hidden delight. Often reminding me of the clean vocals on the old doom inspired Anathema records, the male vocals switch effortlessly between clean and harsh, with a side dish of clean female vocals that remind me of some of the best keyboard inspired gothic music. The instrumentation is more than competent. It sublimely switches tempos without much effort and between different elements, so at one stage the keyboards will lead, then they will allow the guitars center stage and finally, the dramatic percussion alongside the ebbing bass with flow simultaneously like a pretty light show, mixing emotions of anger with sorrow like they’re vividly running colours. Not only this, but Nemesis Inferi are infectiously melodic. Never overwhelming, the band use the keyboards and the guitars to intersperse melodies into the mix on songs like the catchy ‘Cold Winter Time’, which wonderfully caresses the listener with lush melodies and beats them down with aggressive drums and harsh, passionate vocals that fuses the lovely female voice into the context. This era of Nemesis Inferi deserves a lot more credit than it gets.

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