Nahar: The Strange Inconvenience

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Nahar: The Strange Inconvenience
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Nahar: The Strange Inconvenience
Ambient Black Metal, Doom Metal
Avantgarde Music
2013
Release length: 47:19
Myspace
Nahar is a two-piece Black Metal group from France, one that has been sticking pretty deep in the style’s underground catacombs. Considering the positive attention their material has been earning, it’s hard to comprehend why they haven’t yet stepped out of the shadows. Perhaps it all has to do with vocalist Sorghal’s involvement with other groups like Irriycht and Nehemah, or perhaps main composer’s Shaddar.V.H., who handles all the instruments, feels no need to do anything but let the music itself speak volumes instead. Whatever the reason, this duo, still signed with Avantgarde Music, present The Strange Inconvenience, the long awaited follow-up to 2009’s La fascination du pire. Was it worth the four year wait, or is this just a sub-standard album?

When it comes to Black Metal from France, a lot of the time there’s a strong focus on atmosphere or emotion, and Nahar proves to be no exception. The guitars are a bit in the distance, holding a slight sharpness that actually ends up drowned out in a way that you pick up on everything more as blunt, lower tuning. Part of the reason is due to the production being a bit grainy without treading near the expectations of “raw,” as well as the loud, somewhat hollow snares that really dominate everything else. There are a few pushed away from the forefront and have a booming sound when hit, which adds to some of the shorter epic bridges. The bass kicks carry a click that matches the snap of those snares, and the cymbals sound pretty good, though the impact is slightly lost due to their lower volume. The bass guitar is what really stands out due to the already tuning. While you might not hear the deep sounds in a distict manner, you easily pick up on the subtle roar. This all weaves cold and hopeless environments that the rarely used rhaspy and guttural vocals throw their authority over, never getting too enthusiastic and breaking the oppressive ambience.

The Strange Inconvenience may only be six tracks, but, aside two, they are long, deep and engrossing. “Grey Concrete… Comfort” immediately grabs you by the throat, asserting you to forsake hope immediately. The start is quite grand, using the cymbals and riffs to create a booming marching introduction that grabs your attention. These sort of oppressive sections are intertwined with punishing slow paced second generation Black Metal. The material shifts often, keeping the near ten minute length sounding fresh thanks to doubling up on the bass kicks, background voices or sound effects, even abruptly dropping to two guitar chords against the bass and distant drums. The latter creates a vacant vaccuum that is a bit open and lighter without becoming filler with poor transitions. Just as the performances change within the songs, so do the atmospheres in each. “Pessimist” is actually a lot more crisp, though some areas find the guitars, as well as the drums to be far more aggressive. In those spots, things do get a little more depressing, but eventually it all changes into some really oddly placed crippling isolated astral Ambience trigged by whispered dialogue. It works out, and is very intriguing to hear since it can have your brain racing to comprehend why it was done in the first place. Sadly, the first thought might be to extend the life of the song by slapping two together, which isn’t quite the intelligent first response you want to have.

“Purifying Negativity” shows off what the band can do when tackling ambience, as well as brutality. While it shows traits of Black Metal at the start, it eventually slides into an Ambient piece of dismal chords and effects, as well as a heavily echoed woman speaking. This goes on for quite a while, almost luring you into a trance-like state before being bludgeoned with fast, hard hitting music and guttural vocals that dive head first into more Death Metal terrain out of nowhere. This also bleeds into “D.M.T.,” though the only connection other than being another Ambient focused piece is the ratteling that acts as a bridge. The atmosphere of this song, as well as the distortions on the chords are largely different. This one has a rustic touch to it, and some Middle Eastern elements that, again, seem to set up a ritualistic idea without the burdening heaviness of other tracks that would end up including a sense of sacrifice.

The Strange Inconvenience may have taken a good four years to be released, but it was well worth the wait. This time around, Nahar does show some growth when it comes to writing solid material, and made many of these often inconsistant extended musical adventures flow smoothly from start to finish. The only major problem one can have is that, sometimes, things change too abruptly, and the atmosphere is lost, or the fear of a long addition to extend a song’s lifecycle. Thankfully, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Even those areas benefit from the subtle atmospheres that seem to exist so naturally without being over-the-top or stereopyical for an album like this. If you like subtle emotion and crushing environments, then The Strange Inconvenience is an album well worth pick up.

01. Grey Concrete… Comfort – 9:50
02. Puryfing Negativity – 7:21
03. D.M.T. – 3:45
04. Pessimist – 11:34
05. An Atavistic Manner – 11:49
06. Electric Equinox – 3:00
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Nahar

Digital review copy of this release provided by Avantgarde Music.