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Nibiru Ordeal – Solar Eclipse Award winner

Nibiru Ordeal
Solar Eclipse
by Rachel Montgomery at 24 December 2019, 12:30 AM

NIBIRU ORDEAL formed in 2006 by two childhood friends in Kuopio, Finland: keyboardist Pekka Laitinen and drummer Vili Härkönen. They remained a two-man project for several years, partnering with their bassist Jussi Pulliainen and guitarist Myrko Byman. After bouncing around vocalists, they partnered with Swedish/Bosnian singer Andi Kravljača for their long, Progressive Symphonic Metal album “Solar Eclipse” is here.

The horn opening in “Predestined” gives way to some very skillful drumming and interesting use of electronics. The orchestral symphonics are more artificial sounding. The gurgling narrative at the end ties the artificiality in to a science fiction theme. It also seems longer than it is due to the variety and quick music changes. It sets up the album as a musical treat full of great notation, variation and experimentation.

In “Gone with the Wind,” the sweeps show real musical talent. The music in this song is incredibly tight for such a fast song. The drum may be on a timer or artificially rendered, but that’s expected for such a fast song. If it’s not, I’m impressed by the drummer’s talent. The vocals after the guitar solo are smooth and haunting. The drumming at the beginning of “Spacebeast” is complex and leads into a more orchestral melody. It also showcases the tight, on-point harmonies throughout the album.

The rhythm and tempo changes in “Icon 21” are noteworthy progressive elements, as is the song’s uniqueness against the previous few songs. However, the videogame sound can be grating in some places. I find this technique to be hit-or-miss anyway. Due to the many tempo and tone changes throughout the song, it can feel longer than it is. It’s a progressive, tight, well-composed song, but this five-minute number can feel like a ten-minute number without needing to.

A couple of the songs sound like typical Power Metal songs, buried by the more progressive, innovative songs on the album. While these songs are fine on their own, there’s little noteworthy compared to other songs here.

Spacebeast” is notable because of the complex melody from the vocalist, showing incredible clarity and operatic talent. The song stands out due to its full orchestral symphony rather than something that sounds like a videogame. However, the electronic solo is awesome, specifically the harmonies and climbing scales. The choral elements at the end are deep and memorable.

The uplifting, symphonic, incredibly harmonized opening to “Civilization” shows the power of both the instrumentation and the vocalist. While the effects here are simpler and not as drastic, the song itself is powerful.

The album’s ballad, “Namida’s Tear,” has some beautiful string work in the beginning and shows the singer’s clear, operatic chops. The tempo changes also show bombastic riffs from the guitarists and soft, intricate melodies form the symphonics. Like “Civilization,” they’re light on the progressive elements. However, that makes this song good, but not a standout except for the tempo changes.

Finally, the closing song can be considered a trilogy of songs: “Before the Eclipse” serves as an intro to the 13-minute song, “Vortex of the Dead Galaxies.” The latter begins with bombastic, electronic symphonics. There’s a cut in the middle of the intro, but not much changes between it. There are many tempo changes and progressions throughout the song. Otherwise why make it so long? However, they’re not as pronounced as the changes in the first few tracks.

That’s because the progressive and thematic techniques are saved for the grand finale, “Solar Eclipse.” There’s a bout of cacophony before the first chorus that would sound discordant in any other song, but here, it works. While they use the same main melody through the verse/chorus, they change up the key and add in engaging instrumentals to keep the song moving. The sweeps and downward scales create a wonderful effect, sounding like asteroids coming down.

Overall, this band is tight, and the musicianship is absolutely wonderful. Apart from some nitpicks, this band is really worth checking out.

Songwriting: 10
Production: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Predestined
2. Gone with the Wind
3. Spacebeast
4. Icon 21
5. Demons & Angels
6. Namida’s Tear
7. Manual to Life
8. Stardust
9. Civilization
10. Before the Eclipse
11. Vortex of the Dead Galaxies
12. Solar Eclipse
Lineup:
Andi Kravljača – Vocals
Mirko Byman – Guitars
Jussi Pulliainen – Bass
Pekka Laitinen – Keyboards
Vili Härkönen – Drums
Record Label: Inverse Records
     


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Edited 26 February 2020
 

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