Album: Re Un
Label: Avantgarde Music
Névoa is a new black metal band from Portugal. Re Un is their second release, their debut coming out around this time last year. I remember listening to their debut, The Absence of Void, and really enjoying their bleak atmosphere and the distinctly Cascadian black metal sound. However, Re Un sees Névoa shifting their sound quite a bit, going from their Wolves in the Throne Room inspired sound to combination of two different sounds, one for each half of the album. The first half is more in line with psychedelic black metal like Aluk Todolo or Oranssi Pazuzu, while the second half of the album takes a heavier turn, reminding me of bands like Year of No Light and Altar of Plagues.
Re Un is fairly short in terms of atmospheric black metal, comprised of four songs totaling up to just over half an hour. It is clearly meant to be listened to as a single piece of music: the song titles begin with a number and follow a logical theme and the songs themselves blend into one another without the sense that any of them end or begin. Even the shift from the first half to the second is handled fairly well and there is a sense of cohesion even though the sound is so different.
The first half of the album, as I mentioned, sounds very psychedelic. The repetitive guitar strumming in the background while the rest of band thrashes away on “I Communion” adds a hypnotic effect to the song, allowing you to focus on just that one instrument while the music changes and grows around it. I also really enjoy when the music slows down and those guitar notes chime out suddenly, with no care for timing or melody. It really adds to the atmosphere of the album, setting the tone for the following song. “II Contemplation” is the most psychedelic on the album, featuring some nice jazzy drum and bass sections. The extended jam in the middle of the song, which has a jagged drum pattern and an insistent bass-line, is really well done, fitting right in with the music of the psychedelic black metal bands mention above. The whole jam slowly reaches a head as the background guitar forces itself into the tune and eventually turns it into a smashing, tremolo-solo crescendo. When the music finally drops out, an ambient section filled with harsh breathing, chimes, and tribal-like drums completes the song and the psychedelic half of the album.
The shift into a heavier sound is immediate from the moment “III Conflict” begins. The really sludgy riffs sound like something that you would hear from Year of No Light. It is the shortest track on the album, being pure heavy riffs and throaty screams. While the previous half of the album saw little vocals, they are used much more on this second half, providing additional intensity. “IV Closure” sees Névoa playing an even slower and harsher version of what they were just playing, driving all memory of those catchy psychedelic tunes away. While this song is not as fast or aggressive as the previous, the way the notes are delivered in a slow, crushing way makes it sound even heavier. There are moments on this song when I am reminded of Altar of Plagues because it gets so slow and heavy, and the vocals are especially reminiscent. However, the suddenness of the album’s ending leaves me feeling like the whole thing is an unfinished thought.
I really like Re Un, and I feel the way that Névoa has been willing to break away from their previous sound and experiment with not just one but two different sounds on this album is really impressive. To be honest, I wish the album wasn’t so short. While there are lots of great moments, it leaves me wanting more rather than feeling satisfied. Only time will tell where this talented young band will go, but my vote would be for them to continue down the psychedelic path; they really have an ear for creating those hypnotic and funky sections.
Get it on bandcamp: https://nevoaofficial.bandcamp.com/album/re-un