Review Summary: Take the best of both BTBAM and Cynic, mix that up with some Pink Floyd and enjoy one of the most criminally over-looked albums of 2011.
If one were to come up to me on any random day and ask me what I found lacking in the music now-a-days. I would give that person a nice smile and without a doubt answer him with, out of all possible option were I could choose from, that the thing that I find most lacking in music now-a-days is songwriting.
I feel like most bands start writing an album with no to very little imagination or ideas, with no vision of what they want to create. And it seems they don’t take the time to write something truly interesting, original or even fun. They make an album with a couple of good song on it and a lot of filler, half worked-out ideas or they use the same idea used over and over again. To make matters even worse, many bands sound so much alike that it’s hard to differentiate them from each other.
, a band that does not meet that description.
is a five-piece reigning from the tax haven Andorra. A small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees Mountains and bordered by Spain and France. The band exists out of=
- Vocals = Roger Andreu
- Guitar = Bernat Argemi
- Guitar = Filipe Baldaia
- Bass = Ricard Tolosa
- Drums = Sergi Verdeguer
NAMI’s sound can be described as progressive metal but there are influences of death metal and jazz-fusion to be found throughout the whole album. The closest comparison would be Cynic
, as the way the guitars and drum collide with each other has a very “Masvidal/Reinert” sound to it. Only NAMI
uses a more dynamic song structure, with on their heavy side a more outspoken death metal sound. And on their soft side a bigger use of noises, sampling and even post-metal influences. All of this combined with ever changing time-signatures and polyrhythms, great bass lines (it is audible throughout the album) and very skilled, dynamic drumming.
All of this is carefully crafted and placed throughout the album and accompanied by Roger Andreu’s powerful -though severely lacking in range- death growl and beautiful -albeit with an accent- clean vocals. Never during the album’s total playtime did he ever come over as whiney, nor does he have the typical high pitched voice that’s popular in the genre lately. Andreu has a pretty unique voice thanks to the combination of his accent (Catalonian or French, I’m not sure, but I’m guessing French) and pretty manly voice (closest comparison would be Opeth
), which also doesn’t seems to be autotuned that much. It complements the music really good and fits every mood the album is about to explore.
Progressive metal, or “thinking man’s metal” as it often gets referred to. NAMI
took the name pretty literally if you ask me. A thinking man also called a scholar or even a philosopher are all interested in nature or the elements and if we take a look at the song names on the album we see Earth, Fire, Air and water. In some regards we could consider this to be a concept album, only not in a lyrical way like most concept albums, but more in a songwriting or even song structure way, a real “concept” album you could say. The thinking NAMI
put in all of this obviously goes back a lot further then we might expect at first.
Sure everyone could use a lot of expensive looking or puzzling words, if it doesn’t have a connection to the songs it would mean nothing and only sound pretentious. Luckily this is not the case here and NAMI
thought about it. The elements in the song title can be seen as a template for the song, where the fire song is faster and has a more haunting feel to it than other song which might represents the treacherous and dangerous nature of fire. The water song is soft and has more “bubbly” feeling to it, together with more water like ambient noises and samplings and eventually it starts to speed up, like a river that where the current suddenly under goes a flow acceleration. As you can notice it’s a real joy to discover how the song writing relates to the song title as these are only short descriptions of only two of the nine songs.
In this middle of the album, during “loop of truth (the link)” NAMI
decides to take back a lot of gass and starts going a softer approach where a soft guitar lead and spoken/clean verses are the main focal point. Those looking for heavy music might be really disappointed by this as this disrupts the heavy feeling the album has been using so far. But this gives the listener a break a moment to catch your breath and it creates a contrasts between heavy and light that make the album a joy to listen to. You shouldn’t worry however as the momentum starts building again to eventually to deliver great final tracks that will remain lingering in your head like a candle that slowly but surely gets extinguished only for you to start at the beginning again.
If one thing is for sure it’s that NAMI
has put a lot more thought in this one album than many other bands do for their entire discography, each song is an individual experience and still it all belongs together and should be seen as a whole. It’s like NAMI is taking you on a journey through nature, and it is a journey no-one should be willing to miss. I think I’ve heard this album about 12 to 14 times now and the more I’m listening to it, the more I am enjoying it. It still sounds as fresh as it did on my first listen, I’m still hearing new nuances in almost every song and time still seems flying by while I’m listening to it. This ladies and gentleman is truly a work of art, one that everyone should at least try to experience. NAMI
is a band to watch out for in the future, so much is certain! 4.5/5
- Amazing songwriting throughout the whole album;
- Competent musicians who know what they are doing, everything is exactly planned out;
- Dynamic song structure;
- Great clean vocals.
- The heavy/light switch may not be for everyone;
- Screams showcase limited range;
- Some might see the guitar as pretentious.
- Oppression And Understanding – Fire
- Cosmical Beginning - Air
- Conscience Of The Void (From Oblivion To The Renew) - Water