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Nekkar - Self-Titled

Nekkar
Self-Titled
by Vasilis Odontidis at 22 April 2013, 2:04 PM

When the light fades and night paves its way in the darkening sky, everything is pitch black except for those tiny sources of light either alone or being part of constellations or the light that never warms. Up in the heavens in the constellation of Beta Böotis there is a star that comes by the name of arabic origin Nekkar or Nakkar. And with that, should solitude be your only friend, the time comes when you dig inside your soul and search for those raw feelings that dwell deep within. NEKKAR in their homonymous debut album awakens those feelings outlined by their atmospheric doom metal (atmospheric to some is depressing but I grew up with the terminology atmospheric and I will stick to this). Hailing from Greece this five piece band (including a saxophonist!) has is offering a six track album that redefines solitude, anger, despair and apathy.

The album opens with the instrumental “In Your Absence” giving the first hints of the depressing isolation forged by minimalistic keyboards and an amalgam of electronic and real drums. “This Ordeal” breaks with an elegy of down tuned clean guitars before distortion and vocals full of hatred kicks in. In the chorus the saxophone binds rage with bitterness and the lines “This Ordeal Is My Punishment” haunts my head for days now. “Uncomfortable Silence” continues the same down-beat tempo with monolithic riffs, while the saxophone is sounding mellow and desperate again. After the bridge of the song Sakis Tolis of the legendary ROTTING CHRIST provides guest vocals and sends the song to another dimension. “Bridge” gets things heavier with the riffing being more specific and drums having more double bass breaks while the tempo is kept in low speeds. Saxophone and guitar leads are coming one after another. “Distorted Birth” gets us back to clean guitars that interchange with distortion on the verses and choruses while some guitar leads are present but saxophone is having a very strong presence especially in the end of the song. The album ends with the nine minute long track “Solemn Mind” is the epitome of atmospheric doom and the epilogue of the record.

I would compare NEKKAR to ANATHEMA and KATATONIA of their very first albums. And it has been such a long time since I heard a record of that genre that sounded that interesting and good. There is a very depressing mood throughout the record and burning rage. The instrumental intro was very interesting and I think it would be nice if the used same soundscapes during the songs. I found the pattern down tempo - heavy riffs - mellow lead with saxophone in the choruses a bit repetitive. If you consider that there are only five songs it doesn’t bother at all. But if they want to continue releasing albums that must change. I loved the use of saxophone but it sounded too dull and muffled and according to my limited knowledge its sound can be much more expressing. That would make songs even better and a give a very interesting outcome. I think the band is in its infancy and they need time to find up their own sound. But they have the potential. The lyrics are full of despair and hatred which binds perfectly with their music and they are structured pretty well. The production of the album is very good - except my questioning about the saxophone. Their playing is top notch in any case.

There are records that you can’t listen through all hours of day. There are specific moments when you want to isolate yourself in your place or have a walk at night. “Nekkar” is one of those records that require very special conditions from the listener to unfold its nightly wings. It is dark, it is haunting, it is bleak but in the end it rewards you with a Pyrrhic victory and a bitter kind of salvation.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. In Your Absence (instrumental)
2. This Ordeal
3. Uncomfortable Silence
4. Bridge
5. Distorted Birth
6. Solemn Mind
Lineup:
Nodas Zanos - Bass
Efthimis Psixogyios - Drums
Kostis Prassas - Guitars
Giannis Anagnostou - Guitars, Vocals
Thomas Smyris - Saxophone
Record Label: Independent
     


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