Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Voidnaut - Nadir (2019)



Country: Greece
Style: Heavy Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 8 Feb 2019
Sites: Facebook | YouTube

I love exploring the many subgenres of metal to see how bands are merging atmospheric black with brutal death and adding in elements of symphonic power and Middle Eastern folk or whatever heady mixture they've figured out this week. Sometimes, though, it's good to settle down with some good old fashioned heavy metal.

Voidnaut, who hail from Athens in Greece, are a relatively straightforward heavy metal band with clean vocals, clean guitar and a clean sound. The closest they get to extreme is some occasional double bass drumming. The shouty hardcore vocals that pop up now and again are there for effect and are hardly an underground texture nowadays. This is commercial through and through and it ought to find airplay on American metal radio stations.

I should add that it's commercial in a very American sense rather than a traditional British one. Unlike most European metal bands, they obviously worship at the altar of Disturbed rather than Iron Maiden and they're far more fundamentally American in sound than, say, Avenged Sevenfold, who somehow got away with combining those usually mutually exclusive influences into something radio friendly.

What I should emphasise here that I wouldn't lump Voidnaut in too closely with nu metal, which any conversation about commercial American metal of this millennium will inevitably raise, because this isn't just loud pop music and they don't fall prey too often to the technique of quietening the music every time they get to a verse so that we can listen to the singer instead. It does happen but not very often and oddly mostly on the heavier tracks on offer.

Instead, there are strong riffs on tracks like This Pain is Mine and good solos on tracks like Damage Done. Songs like Control and Savage World betray an overt Pantera influence, maybe some Sepultura too. It's heavy stuff and the fact that it remains commercial without a hint of Black Sabbath to be found anywhere on the album really shouldn't be a problem. Maybe the suggestion that Road to Nowhere kicks off like Judas Priest or Accept is enough.

I don't know much about the band, other than that they were formed in 2013 and three of the four members are called Kostas. I have no idea what they each do except for Kostas Alexakis being the drummer, but that's probably fine because nobody really outshines anyone else. The singer doesn't steal the show and neither does the guitarist. Everyone just does their job and plays the part in the band. That's just one reason why Nadir doesn't feel like a nadir, even if it isn't a zenith yet.

I wonder how long Voidnaut will stay in Athens. They're clearly good at what they do but their audience is just as clearly on the other side of the pond, especially as they sing in English without any overt accent to make it difficult to follow the lyrics. I'd expect them to pull up their roots at some point and relocate to the US, where they deserve to find a good deal of success.

Maybe, in twenty years, high school kids will be talking about Voidnaut without having a clue that they're Greek, even if three of the band members are still called Kostas.

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