As The Ocean Burns is one of those self-released propositions which could easily be missed in the never ending torrent of offerings but deserves the strongest of attention such its impressive and riveting contents. A rich and intensely striking blend of varied ideas and flavours upon a canvas of progressive death metal, the latest album from French band Nemost is a thought provoking and imagination igniting proposition which shows the Paris quintet to be one of France’s most exciting potential loaded prospects.
Formed in 2005, Nemost are not exactly newcomers but still a relative secret outside their homeland metal scene, though As The Ocean Burns will surely have a say about that. A self-titled demo in 2008 was well-received by fans and critics with debut album The Shadow’s Trail two years later drawing greater attention and reactions for its striking sounds. Four years on with the band’s songwriting and invention evolving as potently as their skills and sound, As the Ocean Burns is a new plateau for the band and a compelling addition to the ranks of melodic and progressive death metal. It is a release which grips from its first breath, leading the listener through cavernous scenery of sonic and rhythmic intrusiveness and intimate climates of melodic and atmospheric radiance.
Pressure Nation is the first encounter and straight away embraces ears in a melodic weave of guitar temptation and heavily jabbing beats from drummer Thybo Saz’Rain. It is a warm coaxing yet holds an intimidation which is soon ing the band) realised in a tempest of sonic causticity and bellowing intensity, the vocals of Arnold Petit roaring from within an imposing cloud of aggressive grooves and riffs from guitarists Johan Nat (since left with Pierre-Jean Catez joinuand Samuel Eymonym. It is a muggy climate which immerses the track but still allows clarity to the gripping drama and individual inventiveness of the band. The rampaging skilled urgency of Saz’Rain is impressive baiting for the senses alongside the magnetic and heavy tones of the bassist of Thomas Krajewski but it is the enthralling guitar craft and invention which steals the biggest chunk of the limelight in the exceptional track.
The stunning start is followed by the similarly hostile and engrossing Beasts and Bullies. Grooves worm into the psyche within seconds as rhythms hurl mighty and unpredictable swipes down on ears for a threatening yet addictive entrance. It would be a debilitating start but for the outstanding mix of guttural scowls and outstanding clean vocals which entwine for a glorious and aggression tempering enterprise alongside the sizzling guitar play which emerges to ignite the imagination. Already two songs in it is hard to remember too many melodic death metal encounters this good and inventive, nor as virulently contagious as the first pair of tracks are.
Diversity is as much a key to the success of As The Ocean Burns and proven by the cinematic start and ambience of Respawned. Haunting crystalline keys tease ears first, followed by an expanding electronic charm and revelry. It is just the doorway into the delicious and relentless nagging of corrosive riffs and predatory rhythms, though it retains the melodic enticement of the song’s start throughout. A new dark throat emerges in the bass whilst the vocal harmonies seem to be fuller and more provocative than ever over the maelstrom of addictive ingenuity and adventure beneath them. There is a total lack of predictability to the album and songs, every time as here, you think you have handle on its intent and direction it twists or evolves its gait, direction or simply sound to bewitch and enthral.
Both the fascinating The Aimless Endeavour with its merger of Breed 77 like Latin melodies with insidiously dark malevolence, and the smouldering antagonism of Fight turn the temperature and persuasion up on the passions, the first a heat wave of sonic enterprise and aurally incendiary ideation. Its successor has a closer intimacy and more restrained purpose to its tempest yet it still immerses the ears in an almost oppressive texture of energy, as well as a cinematic menacing from its hooks which latch onto equally gripping melodies and the smooth vocal temptation of Petit. The track would make the perfect soundtrack to the darkest adult only Bond escapade and is another massive highlight on an album offering nothing but so far.
There is an inhospitable tone to Lifeless Heat, the song feeling like it wants to violate the listener even though it too comes with a sublime sonic inventiveness from the guitars. It does not live up to its predecessors in many ways but keeps the emotions enjoyable warm for the erosive might of Sandstorm. The track is a tempest of a track, a bear like ferocity unleashed by drums and riffs in league with a venomous beauty which soaks the ever impressing vocals and toxic lure of grooves. It’s incessant almost waspish irritancy and charm lights up ears and emotions perfectly before making way for the initial gentle and ultimately scarring brilliance of The Pale Observer. The track is ultimately a blaze of malicious invention and smouldering seduction, a battling tempest in the ears which evolves its fury into another fire of stunning technical and thoughtful enterprise blessed with gripping drama.
A kind of respite for the senses comes with Hourglass, though thoughts and emotions are kept busy by the entrancing sway of elegant melodies and emotive hues within a rugged sonic wind, before the fierce splendour and rabid invention of Year of the Libra and subsequently the bordering on demonic Atomnium treat and excite. The tracks bring yet further unique character to the album, each a dramatic exploration in sound and lyrical intrigue wonderfully impossible to pin down with real comparisons, though we suggest any fans of bands such as In Flames, Opeth, Katatonia, Lamb of God, Beneath The Buried And Me, Anathema, The Contortionist and the likes will especially get a kick out of the glory that is As the Ocean Burns.
The title track brings the release to a close, a song which is probably the lightest in intensity on the album but also one of the most spellbinding with its weaving of light and dark, seductive and violent textures into a fluid and beguiling landscape of originality. As the Ocean Burns is a gem all should take time to search out and investigate, a triumph which should not be allowed to slip through the net.
As the Ocean Burns is available now @ http://store.dooweet.org/en/cd/151_nemost-as-the-ocean-burns.html
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