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NonserviaM - Ordinance Of Reason

Ordinance Of Reason
by Dorothy Cheng at 20 June 2013, 12:53 PM

Malaysia, a small peninsular-ic and island-ish nation in South East Asia commonly referred to as “the penis of Asia” for more than one reason, actually has a teeming hive of Metal bands despite the country's rather stoic and conservative reputation.

With a mishmash of cultures coexisting peacefully in its humid climate, Malaysia has over the years birthed dozens of quality Metal bands, mostly of the extreme caliber. One of these bands, formed in 2009 in Malaysia's national food state of Penang, are out to show the world just how much a band from a small country is willing to put on the table. NONSERVIAM, a melodic Death Metal sextet, released their blazing packet of an EP “Ordinance Of Reason” last year with a flourish of melancholic melodies, heavy Death Metal riffage, and some truly poignant lyrics.

It would be too much of a giveaway to give a blow-by-low description of each song, and since the band is consistent with the impact and skill they deliver in each song, I'll just give a general breakdown of the EP as a whole and what the songs did for me. For starters, NONSERVIAM, through the efforts of a relentless drummer and the guitarists' creativity in riffage, constantly impressed me with skillful tempo changes throughout the songs. There would be steady Death Metal riffage in the verse suddenly exploding into a cataclysm of interwoven melodies – bringing to light the band's openness to experimentation.

Speaking of the melodies, the lead guitar action came to its height in “Fragments” with a great melodic solo that crescendoed perfectly towards the end. Another thing special about this particular song though was how relatable I found the lyrics to be. Sometimes, lyrics on Metal records can just be a jumble of random big words thrown together for effect. But NONSERVIAM doesn't do this – every word they write serves the purpose of propelling lyricist and vocalist Leon Low's very secular message of rationality and atheism to the mind of the listener, drawing lyrical inspiration from philosophy greats such as Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Epicurus.

For “Fragments”, however, the lyrics very skillfully touched on the emotional side on unbelief and non-faith – something I think anybody, regardless of religion, will be able to relate to. Vocalist Low also does a great job with the vocals – bringing diverse techniques and styles to every line in the songs and the crisp production manages to highlight every single member's moments on the EP – and we all know that it is “moments” that make an artist - from a bass slide to a relentless double-bass assault, to a masterful Death growl and to a particular high-pitched gut-wrenching guitar bend, production plays a pivotal role in a record's success.

The band seems to know this and manages to prioritize effectively, giving Malaysian fans something else to shout about by recruiting legendary Malaysian band SIL-KHANNAZ'’s, Dark E to handle the mixing responsibilities. Ultimately, the band's stated goal to “fuse Melodic Death Metal with melancholic vibes” was met masterfully with this concise EP, that although was short, was a straightforward and focused effort to introduce listeners to NONSERVIAM’s brand of melodic Death Metal. The “melancholic vibes” brought a significantly fantastical feel to the EP, particularly with the instrumental track “Depths of Oblivion” which had a complex fairy-tale morbidity about it. And as we all know, all fairy tales have dark sublimities about them intertwined with every happy ending.

There are definitely bigger things to come for NONSERVIAM, who have managed to expound and communicate their enormous stash of potential. This simple four-track EP can bring manifestations poignancy, thoughtfulness, and melancholia to listeners who are looking for some quality Metal with a Socrates-grade message. 

4 Star Rating

1. Dogmalovelonce
2. Fragments
3. Depths of Oblivion (instrumental)
4. A Hymn for the Apostate
Leon Low – Vocals, Bass, Guitar
Valent Teoh – Drums
Gary Chin – Guitars
Payden Lee – Keyboards
Zeon Tee – Bass
Vinoth Krm – Guitars
Record Label: The Four Horsemen Records


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