Naat is composed of seven instrumentals, most of which are fairly lengthy. It also doesn’t sound like a lo-fi creation, yet still maintains a decent enough thickness to give some weight to the digital audio quality of the release when needed. The bass guitar rumbles loudly in the mix without drowning out the relatively dirty distortions of the lead guitars, or the cleaner hooks when utilized for atmospheric effect. Even the drums sound crisp and vibrant, filling the background without overtaking the mix. The mastering on this release is spot on and manages to capture the essence of the band, though doesn’t always manage to properly express any energy or excitement. While not exactly robotic, many times it comes off a bit too methodic for its own good.
Thankfully not all the material ends up sounding over-rehearsed. Opening track “Vostok” finds the dirty guitars complimenting the aforementioned bass output very well, and the simpler foundation is hard not to at least bob your head along to. The slower pacing and thick-yet-blank canvas does allow for the simpler clean leads to get a little moody before dropping back into the filth with some odd timing signatures from the drums that just feel a bit off. What sounds like a solid creation begins to show some cracks due to that bit of complexity, making it and some of what sounds like the extensive guitar solo about four-and-a-half minutes come off a bit amateurish. “Baltoro”, however, has a little more intricacy in a progressive metal sense. The guitar work here sounds mechanical, and not in a bad way. The robotic atmosphere and slight oppressive tone of the music isn’t as powerful at its mild start, but as things pick up, so does the overall memorability factor.
That said, one of the big problems that Naat does suffer from is a lack of track length restriction. Naat‘s compositions aren’t all too complex in the long run, even a bit formulaic. Simple background rhythm with a good drum performance backing it up that eventually is met with clean hooks, maybe a slower segment at some point, repeat. “Vostok” is one of the few to really make the approach work, but even “Falesia”, a song that starts off equally as strong, eventually begins to wear down due to its more laid back nature and similar style. Had it been shortened, it wouldn’t come off this way. In fact, the just under two-minute interlude track “Temo” winds up far more memorable due to its dark, cryptic audio distortion met with a truly eerie, almost graveyard like atmosphere that sends a chill down your spine, a statement that also works for the brief three-and-a-half minute ambient piece “Bromo”.
Even though much of what has been outlined illustrates an album composed largely of boring content, that isn’t quite the case. Its faults stem largely from the simplicity of their performances, and the payoff just not being any more empowering in comparison. Had there been more enthusiasm presented or a little more complexity like what appeared on “Baltoro”, this effort may be something a whole lot different. Instead it’s structured more like a modern alternative rock album but with tighter musicianship and a little more technicality in comparison. If Naat can step up their game a bit and bring some energy to the mix without a majority of their material feeling laid back and over-rehearsed to the near point of automation, future recordings will definitely be worth looking forward to. Sadly, in the case of Naat, we’re left with a mildly engaging debut outing with plenty of unrecognized potential and a couple good tracks worth revisiting.