Naisian – Mammalian (Self Released, 2011)

Discounting a year-long obsession with Hull's Sole Lord, my ears have drifted far afield from the world of sludgified post-metal. Naisian make me realize my musical tastes haven't completely moved on. Mammalian captures your consciousness with a bounty of engrossing riffs and concise compositions that don't devolve into background noise. Pulverizing waves of sludge are juxtaposed with ethereal progressive passages, and the results are frequently sublime. Miraculously, Naisian manage to sound neither derivative nor formulaic to my ears. Mammalian just keeps hitting the spot.

Loose and lumbering rhythms are matched to riffs that roil with a sloshing vehemence. The stuttering melodies never move with great dispatch, but keep on truckin’ in a curiously compelling dance. Aggregations of simple but mesmerizing riffs help Mammalian get trapped in the recesses of your memory. Soaring leads do a great job of accenting the swirling tonal undercurrents without ever overindulging.

The reverbed clean guitar passages weave waves of celestial melody, driven by the steadfast drums and throbbing bass; this isn't sleepytime music. These interludes aren't revolutionary in vision but are certainly captivating and never overstay their welcome. Some progified passages incorporate orchestral strings; this is tastefully done and avoids any noxious whiff of Stilton. Naisian don't have quite the calculated precision of a band like Isis, and they don't leave the massive footprint of Mastodon, but there's something compelling, memorable and original here all the same.

Dual vocals are delivered with varying degrees of growled gutzonborglum, narrating an eclectic set of esoteric tales. The breathless, staccato delivery frequently reminds me of Andrew Hock's apoplectic invective in Castevet. Clean vocals are skillfully broken out in very small measure, adding to the mixture without ruining an otherwise carefully balanced attack. The singing only oversteps its bounds in the extended title track, indulging in some wavering, wailing howls. It's not egregious to my ears, and I suspect a healthy appreciation for Mike Patton's vocal dementia should help the passage go down easier.

One pitfall of this style of music is a lack of momentum and a tendency to fall into rhythmic ruts. Fortunately, Naisian's songs are driven by manic, lively and skillful drumming, bringing to mind the bright immediacy of the sadly defunct Burst. The well mixed bass adds heft to the album's constant movement, ensuring your continued attention. The magnificent bass playing comes to the forefront during some of the more atmospheric moments, writhing in dithyrambic abandon.

Mammalian sports a sharp and unsullied production that gives room for purposeful sludgy mud and crystal clear, clean guitar acrobatics. Naisian sound like a band in the best sense of the word; this is four guys who've meticulously sculpted a titanic sonic landscape. The spirit of this collaborative creation is lovingly captured on tape.

No, Naisian aren't from Savannah, Georgia, thank you very much. Naisian call Sheffield, UK home, but I hope the band jumps the pond someday for a tour. I suspect they'd sound massive in person.


Mammalian is available on February 18th, and you can order it directly from the band here. Pre-orders of the album come with an immediate digital download.

You can check out "Fletcher-Munson" below, as well as the video for "Bellicist," set to scenes from the classic film, "Freaks."
Fletcher-Munson by naisian

naisian - Bellicist

naisian - new video/song up | Myspace Music Videos

Naisian home
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Immortal - Pure Holocaust (Osmose Productions, 1993)

I get all misty-eyed over Immortal's Pure Holocaust in a retrospective piece for Metal Injection.


Mitochondrion - Parasignosis (Profound Lore, 2011)

My review of Mitochondrion's unfathomably fantastic Parasignosis is posted here at Metal Injection.


Castevet, Phantom Glue, Defeatist, Xaddax – January 28th – The Acheron, Brooklyn

I was expecting adventure on this evening, traveling into the hinterlands of Williamsburg after another snowstorm and driving into the teeth of new snow. I got a bit more than I bargained for; I arrived at The Acheron to find it had no functioning toilet. Of all the bathroom options offered, the only one my brain could process was “go in the snow.” It worked well enough. As a DIY space, The Acheron also doesn't seem to be “heated” in any conventional sense, except by the bodies filling it. There were plenty on this evening, but it didn't stop the snow and slush from seeping into my boots, giving me the feeling of an Ardennes Forest foxhole circa 1944. The show was fantastic, and I had a great time despite my emerging trench-foot.

Xaddax started things off with an entertaining set of bizarro post-punk, noise rock madness. Chrissy Rossettie pounded the hell out of her drums, bashing out serious rhythmic absurdity interspersed with mysteriously triggered electronic samples. Nick Sakes, wearing a matching jumpsuit, matched wits and riffs with the beats. His yelled vocals added a layer of peculiarity to the performance. Very fun.

This was the best Defeatist performance I've witnessed. The trio were bubbling over with intensity, and the sound was excellent. My close proximity definitely helped. I was able to witness the terrifying stares Joel Stallings fixes upon his cymbals as he smashes them with stunning precision. The man means business; I'd hate to be reincarnated as a piece of his drum-kit. Josh Scott pulled double duty on this evening (also playing in Castevet), and his brawling, bare bass tone entwined perfectly with the abstruse drum wizardry. Aaron Nichols' guitar sounded great, allowing us to fully absorb the maniacal riffs that Defeatist dispense. The whole affair was thoroughly mindblowing. Word on the street is that the band will be recording a new album in the near future. I can't wait.

Phantom Glue were up next, playing a solid set of stoner sludge muckery. Ultimately, the band's music isn't my thing, but they played an engaging and precise set. Dueling vocals commanded our attention with riffs and solos that covered a wide range of punk/rock/metal territory. My favorite moments were the heaviest, when the band surrendered entirely to groove. Phantom Glue are certainly worth catching in a live setting.

If you aren't yet convinced of Castevet's genius, I really can't help you. The set pulled entirely from the impeccable Mounds of Ash, and this was the best live representation of those tracks I've heard. Again, my proximity helped mightily; this is the first Castevet performance where I could fully grasp Andrew Hock's inscrutable guitar prognostications. These songs deliver a transcendent rhythmic and melodic purification, driven home by Andrew's laconic vocal paroxysms. Ian Jacyszyn's flawless drumming was also amazing to witness. I can't fathom how these cryptic rhythms intersect with reality, and I don't care to. That Josh Scott interjects cohesive and complimentary bass lines into the mix is beyond my reckoning.

I couldn't see the crowd through most of the show, being so close to the stage. Besides some flying hair and banging heads, I don't think a pit emerged. Everyone spent the show bundled in winter coats, which probably would have taken the edge off some pit action. Every time I turned around, I caught looks of amazement and awe (at least during Defeatist and Castevet). I probably had the same look of perplexed bliss on my face throughout. At least I remembered to avoid the yellow snow as I trudged back to my car.



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