Thursday 5 September 2019

Nevain - Hidden (2019)

Country: Israel
Style: Atmospheric Gothic Doom Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 16 Aug 2019
Sites: Bandcamp | Facebook | Metal Archives | YouTube

I've been enjoying a whole collection of one man projects on Bandcamp lately and here's another one, from Uri Jeffrey, who's located somewhere in Israel. He plays atmospheric gothic doom metal, or something like it. The gothic is more prominent than the doom but there's plenty of atmosphere with all eight tracks instrumental except for choral effects.

While some of these one man releases seem to be one track regurgitated over and over under different titles, Nevain is reasonably varied. Each of these tracks distinguished themselves in some way except maybe for a couple late on which blurred together.

The title track provides the first half of doomy bookends. This one is slow but with a lively, albeit rather melancholy, atmosphere. It speeds up midway as a presumably synthesised choir kicks in, but it never stays fast. Nevain has a grandiose sound that comes out of Jeffrey's gothic influences but it works well, perhaps never more than when the violin shows up five minutes in.

Those who came for doom may want to skip forward to the last song, Fields of Grey, which really plays it up for the first time, though there are hints at points here and there. It's the heaviest track on the album but it features a neat piano melody over its dark chugging.

In between are a succession of tracks that mostly vary the style enough to stand out. Shadowfall has a guitar/drum combo that's too bouncy for doom but it underpins proceedings while the keyboards take over the melody, often in a middle eastern style. Desolate Ways often sounds like a carillon, with its abundance of bells. Pale Distant Light adds a flute and that helps the track feel even more cinematic than it would have been otherwise.

The keyboards often dominate here and I wonder if they're Jeffrey's primary instrument, given that he also plays keyboards and bass for the doom/death band Clapsodra, who had an album out last year. I'm sure that many of these odd instruments, the carillons and flutes and whatnot, are the product of a synthesiser rather than a well-stocked music room. If I have a complaint at all here, it's that these other instruments don't sound more real.

Instrumentals don't have to sound like classical pieces played on rock band instrumentation. The most overt band influence here is on Disharmony, which I'm happy to say is not disharmonious. When it gets past its intro, it feels very much like a Paradise Lost song, albeit sans Gregor Mackintosh's highly recognisable guitar tone. There's a lot of Paradise Lost here, from various phases of their career, down to the electronica beats on Desolate Ways. Even the song titles are quintessential Paradise Lost.

I like this album. It's consistently good, though not consistently great, and it made for pleasant company while working, enough so that I ended up leaving it on repeat for a while. I'd give it 7/10 for Paradise Lost fans like me but 6/10 for everyone else.

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