Nemorous – Nemorous

Band: Nemorous
Title: Nemorous
Label: Bindrune Recordings
Release Date: 15 May 2021
Country: UK
Format Reviewed: Digital Stream

As any fan of Extreme Metal will attest to, once you start following those knotted branches that stretch out from the roots of Metal you can find yourself in all kinds of twisted territory. England’s Nemorous are a band very much on the Black Metal side of that tree, but on their self-titled debut LP you will quickly hear that this is a very particular type of Black Metal, one that’s steeped in folk and pagan influences, and existing in a musical realm where there are many gentle moments of light alongside raging, heavy darkness.

Although the band members Chris Walsh, Michael Blenkarn, Ian Finley, Phil Heckles and Alexandra Durning have far too many credits to list here, what they all share (bar Alexandra) is having been part of Pagan Black Metal band Wodensthrone prior to this project. As with that former band, you will hear plenty of Black Metal reference points on the five tracks here (that clock in at just over 35min in total), but tremolo guitar picking, harsh vocal delivery and thunderous double bass pedal work are just one aspect of the music. Opening track “For We Who Shall Know No Rest” starts out with a sonic wave of guitar textures, then transitioning into a kind of Black Metal waltz for a time as the band journeys through a terrain of emotional textures. One thing I find myself repeatedly noting while listening to this album is how the band manages to make the music so often sound extremely emotive, a quality I don’t always associate all that much with Black Metal. So while this is definitely “extreme” music, there’s a lot of beauty in the sounds the band works without darkness for darkness’s sake.

As with the opener, the following track “The Crucible of Being” is a real musical journey at not far short of 10 minutes, starting with a lilting, slightly mournful guitar intro, building through various stages of heaviness and intensity before revisiting the same melodic themes later in the track. These two tracks alongside the especially grandiose “Omega” with its particularly emotive chord progressions, make the core of this album (the brief instrumentation of “The Bereft” in effect acts as an intro to the track). One aspect of this release that definitely must be mentioned is how full-on some of the drumming is. Throughout the album, when the music is going through its many peaks of intensity there are some really thunderous drum fills and extended passages.

As significant as the displays of power are though, it’s the contrast that makes this album the enjoyable and memorable listening experience it is, with the before mentioned beauty of some of the guitar melodies and textures also accompanied by subtle, but effective keyboard atmospherics. As a nod to the neo-folk influences that run through this music, the band finishes with a cover of “The Wind That Cracks the Leaves” (originally by In Gowan Ring), which the band transforms into their own particular brand of heaviness, while still keeping something of the gentle sadness of the original (while the keyboards create a backdrop of strings that really help to carry the emotive qualities of the track).

With a balance of light and dark, extremes and calm, Nemorous is a very pleasing piece of Folk-infused Extreme Metal and a fine musical companion to the thoughtful, wistful metalhead. 8/10 Tom Boatman

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