First off, tribute has to be paid to the band name. It’s not often you see such effort being put into a nifty little Portmanteau, and as it happens, the debut release from this Galwegian hardcore/metal mob stands up to it.
Neifenbach have been busy on the live circuit over the last year, becoming a regular sight at all-dayer gigs the country over and busily crafting a punchy and satisfying attack. A recent jaunt with The Ocean around the island and the inclusion of a very capable new drummer in the ranks seems to have helped them distinguish themselves in what’s a pretty crowded field.
Stylistically, the group has taken firm inspiration from the more anthemic side of metallic hardcore, with the likes of Sick of It All and Integrity cropping up as broad references. Crucially though, they avoid any braindead breakdowns or sermonising, instead opting for a heavy and fast delivery that verges on death-crust at it’s fastest moments, a keen ear for melody always being maintained.
At just under 25 minutes, this is a comprehensive and varied showcase of what they’re about. The dry roar of former Drainland vocalist Liadain O’Driscoll remaining one of their most distinguishing features. Over the course of the demo it remains a strong focal point that the tracks build around, and while the vocal delivery could be described as somewhat samey, they remain convincing and passionate sounding.
The songs themselves pulse with buckets of energy. The catchy chorus to ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ is a particular highlight, the guitar punctuating the vocal refrain with a hook that sinks deep. Tasty little bursts of double bass and changes into slower, heavier parts and duly provided and enjoyed, with the mix lacking nothing other than a louder sounding bass.
Special mention has to go to the backing vocals, which really make things sounds like a proper assault when they are sparingly applied. Really, there’s very little to single out as negative, with the changes of pace and thumping riffs that end ‘A.F.R’ speaking of release that’s clearly been scrutinised and worked over extensively. The impression is that over a proper album, there’s more than enough skill here to produce something special.
Full satisfying and coming replete with a fancy card CD case, the release points to a the band should only grow in stature and live prowess this year. Give ’em a shot.
3.4 / 5 – Lorcan Archer ::: 08/05/10