Review Summary: fluctuating between death metal rage and post-rock clarity, 'A New Constellation' could be Nahemah's strongest album yet.
It doesn't take long for the atmosphere that surrounds Nahemah's fourth release, 'A New Constellation' to reveal itself. Opener 'Much Us' is the sort of song that could be boring but instead draws the listener in, swirling and floating around several layers of ambience and methodical riffs. In fact, the song itself doesn't have any memorable hooks or catchy melodies, the appeal instead comes from the sprinklings of almost post-rock like melodies that hover ominously in the background while the thoroughly metal structure rages on almost constantly. Nahemah do well in blending an almost death metal sound with other non metal styles like progressive rock and (a bit more prominently on some songs) post-rock in particular.
This somewhat odd combination of sounds works so well because of the band's simply solid structuring throughout. The vocals change between a commanding death metal roar and ghostly singing at a whim, the guitars bellow forward one giant riff after another, the drumming while being somewhat unextraordinary and simple dictates the pace very well, alternating the tempo throughout the entire album. It's all a very tight and well constructed base for the songs to be expanded on. The band use this to really stick to a formula and expand around it, giving the songs a really coordinated and tight feel. Of course, this runs the risk of having the album being very similar and limiting variation, and while there is a very audible atmosphere that surrounds everything on the album, Nahemah nonetheless find room for a little bit of variation.
For example, the seven minute monster 'Under The Mourning Rays' has a huge post-rock vibe. While the first half of the song charges forward with heavy riffs and powerful drumming, it eventually fizzles out into brooding ambience. Insubstantial melodies flow around slow and fluid drumming, building to a huge post-rock climax (albeit with death metal vocals) in the last two minutes. This is vastly different to 'Reaching The Stars' which features some of the heaviest and most unrelenting drumming and riffs on the album, where the singer screams with a crazed intensity. While both of these songs bear similarities in the ominous atmosphere, they're almost entirely different in execution and structure.
'A New Constellation' isn't perfect of course, despite the immediately catchy riffs, 'The Perfect Depth Of The Mermaids' falls a little flat compared to the rest of the album, and the immediate interlude that follows it simply slows the flow of the album. Despite this, its an album that builds and builds around a cold and melancholic atmosphere, fluctuating between death metal rage and post-rock clarity. Nahemah have continued to grow and evolve throughout their career, and 'A New Constellation' could be their strongest album yet.