Without overstating things, it’s gratifying to know that as the underground twists into ever more strange and unheard forms of metal, Irish bands are making sure their music is playing a role.
I suppose I’m thinking primarily of Malthusian, and how critically well received they’ve been in the nether reaches of the European underground.
People know when they’re hearing good stuff. And they will know that also when they hear Naddred.
For they too – consisting of old hands from Sol Axis, Eternal Helcaraxe and Slidhr – are taking their own vision of darkened metal into territory that seems just their own.
A Dark Space
First though, ‘demo’, my foot: yes, it may be called that, but it’s a proper release by any other yardstick.
The production is absolutely superb (more in a minute), the songs are of course the product of mature musicians working with new creativity, and it is less a demonstration of their intent than the fully formed intent itself.
But that’s all a debate for another day. To the record itself.
I adore the production here. This is one of those recordings where the production itself is one of the voices in the music. It’s so, so spacious, particularly when it comes to the drums which have some of the best reverbed tone I’ve heard in ages.
Far from the drowned reverbs of so many underground dwellers, this rather sounds as though it was performed in a grotto – as though the musicians were gathered together there to do it.
The guitars are absolutely collossal. Again, wonderful reverb, but more importantly wonderful attention to the craft of their playing. And I most certainly dont mean flash tricks. I mean simplicitities like hanging for just that suggestion of vibrato of the back of harmonised notes, little bends here and there, little trills, a wonderful but not sauturated level of distortion, and dark, twitsing riffs that remain clear and powerful.
I cant commend that kind of writing and execution enough. It’s rare.
Then to the playing of the drums. Again, they are so much more than just an instrument here. They’re a central part of this band’s voice. They have their own things to say.
The variety of rolls, cymbals and beats is incredibly impressive. They dont rest for a second, tumbling all around the guitars, raining splashes and thumps as if the sky was coming down. They dont need to be fast, or constantly double kicking, or falling into typical moulds: they’ve always got an interesting rhythm to be accentuating, which works wonderfully with the guitar.
In particular on ‘The Beast Walks The Earth’.
The thickness of it all, the spearheading and determined commitment to it, the evilness in those thick fifth harmonies, the detuning and the rumbling, make this an absolutely captivating listen.
The word ‘ritual’ is of almost completely debased now from idiotic overuse in the underground. As I said earlier, this music and its recording actually sort of feels like being present in the moment they’re playing, sounding as though the whole thing is lit only by candle or flaming torch.
A silly analogy, but listen to it. You’ll know what I mean.
There have been several records now where I’ve thought ‘this has got to be one of the best Invictus have ever put out.’ But this one really, really makes that cut.
Mr Deegan has done it yet again. Truly, we have a savant in our midst.
4.6 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 22/02/17