Fired with a tempest of sonic abrasion, the new and sixth album from German metallers Neaera is a furnace of aggression and intensity which has been stoked up into a confrontation which is as punishing as it is compelling. Whether Ours Is the Storm is the band at its most aggressively creative and destructive yet can be discussed in length as they have unleashed numerous onslaughts of impressively violent creativity, but certainly the new album shows they have not lost one ounce of invention, malevolence, and sonic spite.
Since forming in 2003 under the name The Ninth Gate, the band from Münster, Westphalia has triggered constant attention with their distinct maul of death metal with thrash veining, the quintet within a year being signed to Metal Blade Records. Changing their name to Neaera, after a character in Greek mythology, the band released their debut album The Rising Tide Of Oblivion in 2005 to a tide of strong positive reviews. The following years saw four more enthusiastically received albums all garnering strong acclaim in varying degrees and the band igniting stages in shows, tours, and festivals around Europe alongside the likes of Kataklysm, Caliban, Rammstein, Earth Crisis, Sworn Enemy, All That Remains, Soilwork , Bleed From Within, Callejon and many more. With their new album again released via Metal Blade, the band has continued to hone and evolve their sound into a full brutal expanse of imagination, energy, and passion. The release is a carnal devour of the senses which leaves you breathless, sore, and blissfully satisfied.
Opening track The Deafening is a inciting intro to the ferociousness to follow, its brewing corruption and blistered ambience a short breath of oppressiveness before the title track runs with the in place intent to unleash a primal rage upon the ear. With rhythms slapping the senses with muscular persistence and riffs gnawing with rabid hunger whilst sonic spirals of intrigue and enterprise ignite the air further, the song consumes and ravishes person and emotions. It is a stirring bruising encounter which ignites the passions with ease, the varied growls and insidious squalls from Benjamin Hilleke a magnificent cry and scour as impacting and voracious as the sounds colouring the air black and blue around him.
Decolonize the Mind and Through Treacherous Flames both concentrate on the already deep sores ripped open by the first track, the guitars of Stefan Keller and Tobias Buck flattening defences with merciless riffs and branding with sonic flames whilst the skilled drums of Sebastian Heldt make no attempt to hide their hostility and malice. Between the songs and across the album there is arguably a similarity to the corrosive surface which threatens at times to overwhelm the continually challenging imagination and diversity within songs though it is never enough to deflect their intrigue and power, whilst looking each storm directly in the eye and searching its core reveals the depth of invention at work and
Deeper into its heart the album unveils a hunger driven by serpentine maliciousness locked in thrash savagery within Ascend to Chaos and a volatile grooved invidiousness in the outstanding Walk with Fire, a track which tears and violates with contagion and irrepressible craft. The song is one of the major highlights along with the title track though both are challenged seriously by the melodic fire of My Night of Starless and the thundering predator Black Tomb where bassist Benjamin Donath reveals his deepest grudging menace on the album.
Ours Is the Storm continues to deliver impressive storms of scorning anger and sonic antagonism with the likes of Slaying the Wolf Within and Back to the Soul igniting further strong pleasure. It is a release which is hard to say is inventing anything new or startling but at the same time it is a consistently invigorating and inciting fury which is impossible not relish with greed. Neaera shows no sign of losing their potency or vitriol for which we can be very thankful.
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