Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nomad


Nomad - Transmigration of Consciousness
Witching Hour Productions, 2011
Genre: Death Metal

1. Intro: Are You Ready
2. The Demon's Breath
3. Intro
4. Dazzling Black
5. Intro
6. Identity with Personification
7. Intro
8. Pearl Evil
9. Intro
10. Abyss of Meditation
11. Intro
12. Flames of Tomorrow
13. Intro
14. Raised Irony
15. Intro
16. Four Percent of Hate
17. Outro

This is almost precisely where I wanted Nomad to wind up going.  This is the future of Death Metal!  "Independence" is sort of a transitional album where they started skirting with this new thing Nomad were playing around with.  I am not sure they are done developing as a band, but I would not be opposed to watching them churn out more albums in this vein.  I really don't feel like anyone else sounds like this, and that being said I can make almost no comparisons and descriptions will be difficult.

In prior albums we saw Nomad skirt in and out of rhythmic passages, but they were never as satisfying as they are on this album.  Sure they sounded cool... but they are nothing like "Transmigration"!  Other bands have messed around with rhythmic structures... but nothing like this as far as I can tell.  Nomad certainly plays in the vein of pummeling rhythmic Polish Death Metal, like many of the great bands of that nation, but now we have something to tell them apart.

"Transmigration of Consciousness" has very fascinating structure.  The twin guitar play doesn't always work together.  They structure songs that will have divergent rhythms, but eventually cycle in to bring the listener back into the fold of the song.  It takes a lot of thinking to compose structures like this and you can certainly tell the band has put a huge amount of thought into this.  Every song is carefully constructed.  Just listen to how the rhythmic structures in "Identity with Personification" play with each other.  It's really catchy, but it also has a strange structure that makes it not so catchy... but this does not play out in a bad way.  The whole ending sequence of "Abyss of Meditation" is absolutely incredible.  Listen to the way the guitars, drums, and bass play off each other.  Just mesmerizing.

I only have one problem with the music on this album.  It's relatively minor in the great scheme of things, because the album does sound spectacular, but I think it could sound even better.  First off let me say that this is probably the finest vocal performance by Bleyzabel.  He doesn't settle for standard growling for the whole album.  He brings in great mid-range screams and even some serious yells, like at the end of "Abyss of Meditation".  Simply spectacular.  Here's the issue, when I sat down and started reading a long with the lyric sheet I noticed that in many places Bleyzabel is simply reading the lyrics over the music.  This really didn't hurt Nomad in prior releases, but their music has become so rhythmic that this really won't fly anymore.  There aren't any break-neck speed sections where this gets glossed over.  There are times on the album where he does sing along with the rhythms and wow what an awesome feel it makes, because we have all the instruments working together.  I felt this was most apparent in "Four Percent of Hate", which has a great vocal arrangement with the music.  However the opening track "The Demon's Breath" is the most haphazard in its vocal delivery.  If he had blended with the rhythmic structure it would have just been incredible.  It's already incredible, but it could have been more so!

The album is split up in an odd way.  There are intros between every track and we see Nomad play with this format in prior albums.  I actually don't like this format and I would have preferred the intros be put into the track of the song, however looking at the booklet I sort of understand why they made this decision.  The intros were composed by different people, namely Kuba Mankowski and Kuba Kosin, so I can see why they decided to separate the two things.  The intro concept really meshes the album together and adds a level of atmosphere into the music that works really well.  Nomad somehow manage to generate Death Metal with a fairly high amount of atmosphere, but I find a lot of Polish Death Metal bands pull this off, unlike the rest of the world.  To be honest, the only reason I find this annoying is because if I listen to my music library on shuffle and an "intro" shows up I only get to hear the intro, I don't get the rest of the song, leaving me disappointed that I didn't get to hear Nomad!  I know... a "first world metal problem".

I can't close out this review without mentioning this album art.  Simply eye catching!  Xaay, whom I have never heard of, is a phenomenal artist.  Look at this cover!  It a starship carrying the worlds religions into a black vortex (probably a black hole, since they appear to be in space).  The level of detail is astonishing.  I'm not entirely sure why the Pentagon appears in here... unless it's not the Pentagon of U.S. fame.  In any event this art is great and I was semi-disappointed in no booklet with more art.  But what we do get is a foldout sheet where one side has the lyrics and the cover is blown up into a poster size so we can view the detail of the art better.

This album is simply a monstrous masterpiece of Death Metal.  It has quickly launched Nomad into being one of my favorite bands.  I quickly recommend them to anyone asking me for good Death Metal albums.  More people need to hear about this band.  I was fairly angry when this band somehow passed under my radar and I first noticed them when I looked into their current record label.  I can't wait to see if Nomad could ever top this or improve on it because that will be very hard.  Don't take my word for it... listen to the track below and see for yourself!



Nomad - The Independence of Observation Choice (Luce Clarius)
Empire Records, 2007

1. Liberation (Intro)
2. The Slanderer
3. Dies Irae (The Day of Wrath)
4. The Independence of Observation Choice
5. The Well of Sorrow (Intro)
6. My True Home
7. To Burn at Dawn
8. The Last True Words of Christ (Intro)
9. I'm Waiting for the Wind
10. Rotten Song (Intro)
11. Funeral on the Scaffold of Dreams
12. IX (Bulldozer Cover)


Nomad have returned with quite the monster of an album.  I don't feel like a lot has changed, but something feels really different on this album.  I think they've really started blending those cool rhythms with really interesting tremelo picked parts or other slower rhythmic leads and this is really making their style shine quite a bit.  Just listen to "My True Home" and you'll immediately see what I mean.

Despite this injection of atmosphere, this album feels so much more powerful than the prior releases.  It's heavier, more brutal, and just all around more interesting.  The compositions seem to have a lot more flow and are a little less frenetic than the prior albums.  Nomad are taking a step back from speed driven intensity and bringing it a little further into the realms of atmosphere.  Personally, I think this is a great step because there isn't that much Death Metal out there like this.  Although I feel like this blending is getting more common, especially with the Polish scene.  Probably why Polish Death Metal has wound up being my favorite next to the early Swedish style.

It is very cool that they did a cover song for this album, but for the sake of Nomad's atmosphere it probably should have ended with "Funeral on the Scaffold of Dreams".  That song just emits so much power and oozes a dark atmosphere that you just feel satisfied at it's conclusion.  I would have put the cover song somewhere in the middle of this album, a somewhat unusual idea, it would've benefited this quite a bit.

The booklet and artwork are much better this time around.  It's definitely more interesting to look through than "Demonic Versus".  The lyrics don't seem to be as long, but they still have this strange philosophical quality.  I can't really figure out what's going on, other than the usual "religion is terrible" kind of idea.  Which is true.

'The Independence of Observation Choice" is really where Nomad is starting to transition into their own, I think.  This is definitely where more attention needs to be paid to this band if this kind of Death Metal interests you.




Nomad - Demonic Verses (Blessed are Those Who Kill Jesus)
Baphomet Records, 2004

1. Demonic Verses
2. The Branch of Cool Progeny
3. Raging Arsenal of Waves
4. Blazing Mind
5. Insurrection
6. My Key
7. In the King's Hands
8. The Symphony of Demonic Sounds








After about five years of silence Nomad finally return with their third studio album "Demonic Verses".  I haven't really been interested in the bands Killjoy releases, which is probably why this band initially passed under my radar.  Another reason is that there hasn't been much of a change in the Nomad way of writing music.  They still seem to meander between writing interesting material and fairly run of the mill Death Metal. The opening few tracks of the album feel like Morbid Angel worship and there isn't much beyond that assessment.

Then when we get to "Raging Arsenal of Waves" suddenly they start injecting these really interesting rhythms into the composition and I think "yes! This is what I wanted", but it's rather intermittent for the rest of the album.  The good news is there is more of this stuff than on "The Devilish Whirl" so I think they might be heading into this direction even more.  Just listen to "In the King's Hands" how could you not want more of that?

Despite having more of the rhythmic arrangements I wanted, I feel like the vocals aren't as varied as before.  They also removed those interesting acoustic passages they had in "The Devilish Whirl".  I think this was a sad choice, but I feel like this album was going for a more traditional Death Metal feel.  I just think it would be really interesting to blend their atmosphere with these really cool rhythms.

Despite having a fairly cool cover, I felt that "The Devilish Whirl" had a more interesting cover and layout for some reason.  The booklet was certainly thicker and had quite a bit of detail.  However, this time around the lyrics are much easier to read and look through, even though I find a lot of it fairly meaningless... yet strangely meaningful from time to time.

In the end, this album is probably a better album overall than "The Devilish Whirl", but the strong points aren't as strong.  I just can't wait to see if they decide to blend the two ideas together for something really unique sounding.


Nomad - The Devilish Whirl
Novum Vox Mortis, 1999
Genre: Death Metal

1. Intro
2. Confidence
3. War in the Name of - Impale
4. Groping the Secret Corpses
5. The Other Dream (Intro)
6. A Constructive Image
7. I - An Alchemist of My Analysis
8. The Pile of Burning Roses
9. The Black Domination







This is the first official album from Poland's Nomad and, wow, what a monstrous difference in quality.  I wasn't sure if they would take longer to transition into truly interesting music, but all it took was a couple of years.

When you first turn this album on you hear this intro that sets a very foreboding mood and I just hope that it is an indicator of things to come.  I've heard too many bands start with a wonderful intro only to be let down by the actual metal music and production.  However, Nomad launches into "Confidence", which is easily the strongest track on this album.  At first I thought this was just going to be a much better version of "The Tail of Substance" then the acoustic section of "Confidence" kicks in and I'm well aware this is a different animal.  With the vocals over it it sounds sort of like what Akercocke would later do on "Choronzon" quite often.  This incredible atmosphere and feel just continues into "War in the Name of - Impale"... which is a really weird song title with even stranger lyrics.  Oh well, the music is really quite good.

Unfortunately after these really strong openers the album starts to sound like fairly typical Death Metal.  It's certainly not bad and everything is well arranged and well composed, but it felt like those openers set a tone for a different kind of atmosphere.  They are playing a fairly signature Polish style of Death Metal at this point, similar to Vader at times.  This is not totally a complaint because the opening riff of "I - An Alchemist of My Analysis" is great, but I just feel like they set the stage for something a little different... perhaps the first two songs were written last and they are an indicator of Nomad will be heading in the future!  I sure hope so, because it was wonderful to listen to.

The vocals are so much better on this release, I really can't emphasize that enough.  Only in a few sections did I find the vocals to be far too loud in the mix compared to the rest of the music, but overall it was much better.  Bleyzabel has clearly worked hard on his vocal range as well.  The vocals are extremely varied and make for an interesting listen in that regard.  This is not Death Metal with one monotonous vocal tone through the album.  There are times when he honestly sounds like a raven as in "A Constructive Image".

This is certainly a solid Death Metal release and you can't go wrong with listen to it in that regard.  There are parts that are far more interesting than others, but there are honestly no bad parts!  It will be really interesting where the band decides to go from here.




Nomad - The Tail of Substance
Self-Released, 1997
Genre: Death Metal

1. In Arrival
2. The Slept Scream
3. Dirty White Wings
4. Merciful Agony
5. Mercy is Fear
6. Psychical Degradation
7. Hellish Emergence
8. Silent that Picture
9. The Quartered Dependence
10. The Blade of Inquisition
11. Nameless Throne
12. Moj Wyraz
13. Burn Into Your Hell



I usually try to purchase all my music.  Unfortunately sometimes I wind up in a position where I have no choice but to download it.  After looking for this Nomad album, I have given up on owning it.  It appears only a cassette version of this album exists, making it extremely hard to find since it was self released.

For 1997 Nomad aren't really doing anything new in the field of Death Metal.  At times "The Tail of Substance" seems vaguely reminiscent of early Deicide, mainly the "Legion" era.  However, Nomad has riffs that have far more "chug" in them than your standard Deicide worship.  That extra element isn't enough to stand out and make me say "wow, this sounds so different!".  But it doesn't sound completely re-hashed at least.  They don't exactly add groovier parts into the Death Metal, like you'd hear in Sweden, but instead it is probably more like Doom.  The guitar solos are far more melodious rather than a typical Death Metal style.  One thing I did like is that the bass guitar gets prominent in some songs like in "Dirty White Wings", but they don't do it often enough to make this a unique part of the band.

There are two vocalists on this album and I'm not sure this adds to the music.  In parts I feel like the styles are so different that it gets in the way.  "Blade of Inquisition" is an excellent example of this problem.  If I am correct, one vocalist uses very standard Death Metal growling whereas the other uses a higher range and a sort of "yelling" style.  The vocals probably wouldn't be so bad to deal with, except they are far too high in the mix and they really overwhelm the music at times.  This is especially true when both vocalists are singing.  "Silent that Picture" has vocals that are entirely too loud!

Other than the high mix of the vocals, the album is actually fairly well recorded.  It does sort of have a bit of a high-quality demo feel, but this worked for the album.  I haven't heard their demo, so I have no idea how this would compare.  I can only assume this is higher quality.  These musicians can certainly play well, but their writing does not stand out very well.  Maybe in time we'll see the band put out some more interesting stuff.


Nomad - Disorder
Self-Released, 1996
Genre: Death Metal

1. Whisper of Darkness
2. Disorder
3. I'm Waiting for Winds
4. A Conspiracy of Silence
5. My Sorrow
6. Burn at Sunrise
7. Calumniator
8. Dies Irae








I finally tracked down a copy of this demo.  I absolutely love delving into a bands history and seeing how they started out to see what kind of band they became in the future.  I had honestly given up hope on ever finding a copy of Nomad's first demo, I even lost hope of finding it on mp3, so I was really surprised I managed to track this down in quite a random chance buy.  The cassette comes with a professionally printed booklet (I think) and a dubbed cassette.  I'm pretty sure it was printed because it has the name of the printer, DTP & Printing, along with a telephone number to contact the company.  On one side is a black and white booklet, but the other side contains the lyrics for the demo.  It's interesting to see how young the band looks in their band photo, given this was over fifteen years ago now.  It's interesting to see also that there are only two remaining original members from this line-up.

This is an interesting view into the early years of Polish Death Metal during it's truly formative years, in my opinion.  Vader had started out as a sort of Thrash/Death hybrid which was a similar path the American scene took.  However, Vader had a drastic change in their sound which resulted in a very dark aspect to their music.  I feel this has become quite the staple of the Polish Death Metal style.  There's always this sinister tinge to the music that is not present in the American and Swedish scenes.  Nomad are starting in on the early days and you can feel that blend fairly well.  "Disorder" comes across as a melting pot of influences, blending American and Swedish Death Metal together and adding in that tinge of darkness to the presentation that I feel is so present in Polish Death Metal.  That "darkness" I'm referring to is a sort of Black Metal feel to the atmosphere, which makes the music less about pummeling the listener and more about putting them in a state of terror of sorts.

While "Disorder" isn't anything like Nomad would become in the future, it's definitely a solid start.  I noticed that a lot of the Polish bands, even in their more amateur days, come across with a level of professional recordings and writing to the music scene that made them even stronger in their future endeavors.  I hope everyone enjoys hearing the track below to get a taste of some of that early Polish history.



No comments:

Post a Comment