Ainulindale
Nevrast


3.5
great

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
March 30th, 2014 | 23 replies


Release Date: 03/30/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A fragment of a much larger stone still buried beneath the earth

Neofolk can sometimes be a pretty tough genre, due in large part to the fact that it is quite easy to tread into the realm of cliché with a sound that can be quite cut and dry. However, there is also room for the flourishing of creativity, and it is in this space we find Ainulindalë’s latest record Nevrast, a Tolkien-inspired trip through the whimsical landscapes of Middle-Earth that saunters around from the light and airy to the sad and mournful. This French band gained relatively major exposure in the genre when their track “A Year of Silence” was slotted alongside many venerable neofolk acts on the compilation Whom the Moon a Nightsong Sings. While that song brought along a surprising injection of truly deep melancholy in an album not exactly bereft of sorrowful tunes, Nevrast wants to stride on another path.

The mellow tones in tracks like “By The Shore” prove to kick a trend in many recent neofolk albums to be perpetually dark, and it is indeed quite a refreshing dash through territory that is typically left abandoned. That’s not to say that the album is emotionally flat and unwilling to bend its simple acoustic guitars in another direction, because beneath the overt hopefulness there is a slicing undercurrent of sadness. It’s a perfect partner, and in the generally downtrodden cleans of vocalist/mastermind Thomas Reybard (aka Engwar) the music develops a bit of a two-tone feel, with a depth of emotion that runs deeper than your typical collection of acoustic neofolk tracks. The music is generally crawling along as the guitars lay out a foundation that is built up by both male and female vocals, as well as a welcome display of strings and horns that dance between the simplistic riffing, accentuating and differentiating one mood from the next.

It needs to be said that this pace does tend to take away a lot of the atmosphere that the instruments work so hard to build, because during many songs things fall flat as exhausted instrumental licks grow tired and in need of reinforcements that never come. This is sadly more common than just one or two instances, and reveals perhaps the single reason why Nevrast does not fully achieve what it set out to do: the album has a pervading feeling of restraint. It is as if Ainulindalë are trapped in their own shell, unable to write their way out, instead restricting us to slight visions of what would happen if they were to do so. Nevrast shines, though, when these visions do come forth; when things are constantly changing, whether it be the heightened pace amidst dancing nylon guitar strings on “Vinyamar” or “Distant Land”, or during the dueling vocals of “Namarië” and “Nevrast”. Indeed, in the title track the band manages to stretch their wings fully, with perhaps their best song to date, due in no small part to the fact that it is by far their most daring. The pace begins to soar; the sorrowful vocals steadily build into several crescendos that seep atmosphere and emotion like nothing else on the record.

That may be it then: the band seems to restrain themselves when they should go out and reach for the stars and capture the essence of a given mood rather than attempt to replicate it with occasionally amateurish results. The music is true, the emotion is real, but the composition has a tendency to keep it all from bursting out and letting the listener know just how talented Ainulindalë can be. There is no doubt of Nevrast’s success, although there is also no doubt of its shortcomings. They are duly noted, though, so instead it should be said what they have to offer a blossoming neofolk scene, and what they do have is ambition. It is clear that there is an openness and eagerness to improve – the fact that Nevrast is far and away better than The Lay of Leithian is proof of this – so there is no reason not to believe that this album is another step towards an identity separate from that of any of the other neofolk bands out there, and Nevrast is a canvas upon which that identity can be built.




Recent reviews by this author
Horrendous EcdysisIn Flames Siren Charms
Panopticon Roads to the NorthEmpyrium The Turn of the Tides
Wolves in the Throne Room CelestiteAgalloch The Serpent and the Sphere
user ratings (19)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2014


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks to Engwar for sending me the promo. Definitely their best work but could still use improvement.

You can listen to the whole thing here:

https://soundcloud.com/ainulindaleofficial/sets/nevrast

Gyromania
March 30th 2014


16088 Comments


neofolk is indeed a very interesting genre. whenever i think of the genre, current 93 is always the
first band that pops into my head.

Nevrast, a Tolkien-inspired trip through the whimsical landscapes of Middle-Earth that saunters
around from the light and airy to the sad and mournful.


this sounds awesome. will probable end up checking it out. good review

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2014


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely a different style from Current 93, more like Vali or Empyrium, but if you like those guys check this out.

Acanthus
March 30th 2014


9545 Comments


Like the instruments, not sold on the vocals though. Definitely some beautiful music, but that feeling of restraint you brought up in the review really holds some of the songs back.

Digging: MO - No Mythologies To Follow

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2014


8391 Comments


However, there is also room for the flourishing of creativity, and it is in this space we find Ainulindalë’s latest record Nevrast, a Tolkien-inspired trip through the whimsical landscapes of Middle-Earth that saunters around from the light and airy to the sad and mournful.
Oh god, must get this now. Sounds sweeeeeet.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2014


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is really good

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2014


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Like the instruments, not sold on the vocals though.


The female vocals are quite nice but Engwar's vocals are a bit unusual and I can certainly see them being an acquired taste.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2014


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agreed, his voice was initially a bit offputting

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2014


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Glad you enjoy this!

Underflow
March 30th 2014


2675 Comments


Sounds interesting. Going to check this out.

Tyrael
March 30th 2014


20972 Comments


yea this is pretty cool

ainulindaleofficial
March 30th 2014


7 Comments


You can listen to the entire album here :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx_PWhlMkKg

Thank you !
Engwar

CaptainDooRight
March 30th 2014


30334 Comments


oh right I remember this was coming out. I def gotta check!

bnelso55
March 30th 2014


169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. I'm really liking this so far. The 5.1 Surround Mix Engwar included with album really adds a new dimension to the music, in my opinion.

Lowder91bird
March 31st 2014


544 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cool review. This is so far the best Neofolk album of 2014 imo.

Digging: Artificial Brain - Labyrinth Constellation

RoyalImperialGuard
March 31st 2014


1412 Comments


Great review. Jammin the sample song and it sound swell.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2014


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this definitely seems like your thing man when you're not jamming 'throne

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 31st 2014


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i always thought of stuff like Pentangle and that as neo-folk but I guess I'm wrong since i just found out the term was only started in the 80s ?

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2014


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never heard Pentangle so I can't comment on that but bands like Death in June or Current 93 in the
early 80s or Sol Invictus in the mid 80s were the pioneers of the genre.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 31st 2014


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pentangle were way back late 60's/early 70's so cant be part of it, more medieval folk i spose, but whatever, it's all good



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy