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Nether - Between Shades and Shadows

Between Shades and Shadows
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 02 November 2020, 12:30 PM

NETHER is a Melodic Black Metal band based out of Belgium. Formed in 2019, “Between Shapes and Shadows” is the band’s debut album and contains eight tracks. “The Hand of the Unspoken” leads off the album. It opens with a furious sound…from impossibly fast drums and guitars. The vocals combine traditional shrieks with some guttural parts to thicken things up a bit. “Mouths Sealed Clenched Fists” opens with a slower groove, before the vocals come in and kick things up a bit. The guitars venture out a bit, but this is pretty traditional Black Metal. No surprises here.

“Abandon” is more of the same. They aren’t winning any awards for diversity, even though they put their all into the music. The intensity is hard to match. It slows for a bit then picks back up. The one constant is the fury from the guitar and drums in particular, but the bass gets lost in the mix. “To the Shores” begins with a slower pace that gives way to some more of those guttural vocals mixed in with the shrieks. There is a little more structure, here but this sound has been done and re-done ad nauseum. “Humanities Crescendo” opens with a bit of a different sound, and the guitars are doing at least some exploration that requires some skills.

“The Blood is Gone” features some stretching in the riffing, but they are really limiting themselves here to the traditions of the genre which were again established over 25 years ago. Branch out a bit…there is no harm in trying something new. “The Oathbreakers” begins with some fuzzy and depressing guitar work…here they are trying something a bit off the beaten path, but it doesn’t last long. The sound of the early 90’s returns again. “So All Adore Me” closes the album, and enough is enough.

Albums like this always amaze me. What is it about the genre that forces artists to limit themselves like this, when Black Metal is one of the most diverse genres out there. Why stick to a formula that has been done thousands of times before? So you can call yourself Trve Kult? It just doesn’t make any sense to me to copy the founding fathers with the same sounds. Sure, they play with a firey intensity, but it isn’t anything different than the other 10,000 Black Metal bands out there. There is very little to champion here.

Songwriting: 3
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 1
Production: 6

2 Star Rating

1. The Hand of the Unspoken
2. Mouths Sealed Clenched Fists
3. Abandon
4. To the Shores
5. Humanities Crescendo
6. The Blood is Gone
7. The Oathbreakers
8. So All Adore Me
J – Vocals/Bass
P – Guitars
K – Guitars
B – Drums
Record Label: Art Gates Records


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