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Nagaarum is among the most productive musicians I know of. Eleven records in only four years means we have to hurry up getting to know this album as another one might come up soon. Besides, there is his main band, Guilthee, and lately he has recorded a black metal album as well, under the name of In Vacuo. Despite being productive, Nagaarum does not seem to run out of good ideas when writing music.
With the previous record something changed. Being alone in the project, Nagaarum does as he pleases. Consequently, with Eventvm Fatali he left the ambient approach behind, and recorded a metal album. As much as I wanted to love that record, I couldn’t get passed the primitive sound and unwrought vocals. Although it contained some impressive rhythms, it lacked the professional approach, and so, my excitement eventually diminished.
When Nagaarum posted some information about Rabies Lyssa prior to its release, I knew this would be something different again. The brains behind the project managed to hit the nail on the head with this album. This time the record sounds professional and clear without the risk of becoming sterile and lifeless. I certainly did not expect the guitar to sound this thick and smashing. The atmosphere it projects is similar to Guilthee’s best moments, especially on Szemantikai Háromszögek, but Rabies Lyssa is clearer. Each instrument (including the bass!), noises, each melody in the background, the beautiful apocalyptic harmonies, and the tornado-like riffs can all be separately enjoyed.
My other huge surprise was the varied and well-worked vocals. Nagaarum's clear vocal style matches this music perfectly, but we have had access to that only in Guilthee so far. It was high time he had used it in his own project, too. There is something disconsolate about his voice that makes it so enjoyable. There is a tinge of fatality in his tunes, and you’ll find depth and character in his vocal performance, which give the songs authenticity. In the second song, Belépés, some vocal tunes remotely remind me of Hungarian traditional folk melodies. It’s a definite plus. Apart from that, Nagaarum uses his raspy, abrasive snarls as well, the way he does in Guilthee. There is the right amount of each style, and they are empowering each other. It is certainly one of the many virtues of this record.
There are four songs in roughly 50 minutes, and they tell the last days of mankind infected by the rabies virus. The lyrical concept is in balance with the atmosphere of the music. It is sinister and grim, but more fatalistic than depressing. As for the music, I must point out the ingenious, sombre guitar harmonies throughout the record. They are unsophisticated, unforced, and they set up a powerful mood, which is reinforced by breaking metal riffs and ruthless blackened strumming. The song Embertornádó is a proof of this congruent compound accomplished in a masterly way. The ominous piano intro of the last song, Kilépés, gradually develops into a brilliantly layered song, with moments of sick tunes and insanity.
The ambient past is evoked in every song, and in most cases it adds to the exterminative frame of the record, other times (the end of Belépés, for instance) it seems to serve as an interlude between two steps. Here and there I have the feeling that these parts are longer than they should be, but it’s quite insignificant since the album works wonderfully as a whole. It requires patience, attention and inclination for music that demands no other activity while listening to it. Once you are absorbed in it, you are in for a treat. This is Nagaarum at his best.